What are the elements of an emergency response plan?
- By Vivian Marinelli
- July 1st, 2019
Disasters can strike at any time,
on any given day. For some events, you may
have the opportunity for prep time, but others
happen without warning. Whether a disaster
is natural or man-made, having an emergency
response plan in place will help you be prepared.
Working with an organization familiar with
campus emergencies is helpful to ensure your
plan considers the types of incidents that can occur.
Before developing the plan, risk assessment
is critical. Conducting a risk assessment helps
identify events that could impact your campus.
The minimum critical elements of an effective
emergency response program should include
a risk assessment specific to the campus
and community; develop a robust emergency
plan that addresses how to mitigate, prepare,
respond, and recover from hazards and risks;
include crisis communication planning and
provide training, drills, and updates. Once the
plan is complete, practice is key.
An effective emergency response program
would not only include an evacuation plan, but
also a plan to shelter-in-place when necessary. If
the decision is to shelter-in-place additional needs
include securing buildings; maintaining sufficient
food and water supplies; communication and
accounting for students, faculty, and staff.
An emergency response plan should be a
living document. It needs to be updated on a
regular basis and tested at least annually. The
plan should also be developed and written in
an operational, user-friendly manner.
Responding to any event will still be a
challenge. However, the ability for your team
to coordinate the response to protect your
community’s safety and welfare and maintain
the reputation of the school will be enhanced
by your planning and preparation.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of College Planning & Management.
Vivian Marinelli, Psy.D., is the senior director of Crisis Management Services for FEI Behavioral Health (www.feinet.com).