Projects PREPARED and RESPONDS
Napa County Office of Education (NCOE) managed two federal grants to improve and strengthen emergency response and crisis management at the county, district, and school site levels. The goal was to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other school employees and to prevent or minimize damage to school property. Funding was provided by the Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) department of the U.S. Department of Education.
Grant activites followed the standard Crisis Planning Model. Key tasks, associated with the four phases of emergency management that schools should act on, are presented in the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) written as part of Project PREPARED's activities. By April, 2007, EOPs had been given to every public and many private schools and preschools in Napa County. An Emergency Response Guide that provides emergency response information and actions in a flipchart format hangs in schoolrooms also. The ERG contains Sections 5 and 6 of the EOP.
The 4 phases of emergency management, and related activities for schools to implement, are:
Preparedness: establish a School Emergency Management team and describe the roles and responsibilites of each member (see Section 3 of the EOP)
Response: Evaluate nature of emergency and determine appropriate immediate response actions (See Sections 4 and 5 of the EOP and/ or the flipcharts hanging in each classroom); call or contact appropriate emergency responders; activate the School Emergency Management Team; implement specific emergency procedures (see Section 6 of the EOP and/ or the flipcharts) as appropriate
Recovery: may include crisis counseling and stress management, restoration of damaged facilities, determining and recovering costs, and applying for state and federal assistance programs
Mitigation/ prevention: conduct safety audits and vulnerability assessments of school buildings and grounds, implement violence prevention strategies, pre-plan and coordinate with local emergency responders. Useful materials for schools to consult when planning to conduct their safety audits include: the FEMA School Hazards Assessment tool, Guidelines for Conducting a School Safety Audit , and a Sample Campus Safety and Security Audit prepared for a fictitious school that was based on an audit actually conducted in Napa County.
In addition to the EOP and flipcharts, Project PREPARED also trained ever 700 school personnel throughout Napa County in SEMS and the Incident Command System (ICS), held large-scale drills, created an organizational structure that now includes schools in the county's emergency response system: the Napa Operational Area Organization (NOAO), and coordinated the adoption of two Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs), one for school sites and one for the districts, by each Unified School District Board and by the Napa County Board of Supervisors.