Schools must prepare to deal with the same emergencies that threaten any workplace or home. Fires, natural disasters, contagious diseases, and potential criminal activity require clear preventive and response measures.
To support our priority of maintaining student and staff safety, an OSSU Safety Team has been formed, tasked with reviewing emergency management protocols and coordinating emergency operations plans. This effort requires close collaboration with local community agencies, which will continue moving forward.
Following state recommended best practices, school-level teams manage school-based planning under the umbrella and guidance of the OSSU Emergency Operations Plan as developed by the OSSU Safety Team along with representation from law enforcement, emergency management, fire departments, rescue, transportation, and mental health. Having a centralized plan that is then customized to fit each school campus will assist school teams in their work and help develop regional-level crisis support efforts as OSSU must be prepared to coordinate across six towns and four counties.
This work consists of mapping out the four phases of emergency management:
Prevention-Mitigation: Identifying all potential hazards and vulnerabilities and reducing the potential damage they can cause
Preparedness: Collaborating with community partners to develop plans and protocols to prepare for the possibility that the identified hazards, vulnerabilities or emergencies will occur
Response: Working closely with first responders and community partners to effectively contain and resolve an emergency in, or around, a school or campus; and
Recovery: Teaming with community partners to assist students and staff in the healing process and restore a healthy and safe learning environment following an emergency event
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