Overview of Safe Schools and Emergency Operations Planning

Public Schools in California are mandated under Education Code 32280 to develop a comprehensive school safety plan that is updated annually to meet emerging needs and legislative requirements.

The components of a school safety plan include polices and procedures to ensure a safe and orderly campus, specialized instructional programs that promote equity, tolerance, safety, health and wellbeing, and a stand alone emergency crisis response plan. A school’s emergency crisis response plan must align with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) (as required by the Petris Bill, California Government Code Section 8607) as well as the National Incident Management System (NIMS), established in the wake of 9/11 as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and subsequent Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD 5).

SEMS and NIMS have five major components for addressing emergencies across all sectors. These include:

  1. Incident Command System (ICS). The primary management system required to be used by all agencies in California
  2. Mutual aid agreements between similar organizations (fire jurisdictions, city and county law enforcement agencies, etc.)
  3. Multiple agency coordination. Allows diverse organizations to work and communicate together effectively (OES, law enforcement, fire, schools, etc.)
  4. Operational areas (establishes overall command and control for the incident)
  5. Satellite linkages (establishes priority communication system if necessary)

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides leadership for the development of school emergency and safety plans through the convening of the Santa Cruz County Safe Schools Consortia.

The Safe Schools Consortia is comprised of local fire and law enforcement agencies, Office of Emergency Services, Health Services Agency (health and mental health), the Red Cross, Emergency Communications Center (911), and representatives from the ten Santa Cruz County school districts and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.

Since 2005, the Consortia has worked with all local schools to assess the vulnerability and needs of school sites and personnel to respond to a variety of natural and manmade threats that could impact our students, families and communities. The Consortia worked closely with the County Office of Emergency Services and the various County Emergency Management Council’s sub-committees to develop uniform county response plans for large-scale events such as earthquakes, severe weather, flooding, flu outbreaks, and a variety of terrorist-type attacks. All school emergency plans are currently aligned and integrated with the County Emergency Management Plan, which incorporates Homeland Security Priorities, National Incident Management System and California’s Standardized Emergency Management System use of Incident Command Systems under a Uniform Command protocol.

Through these collaborative efforts, the Safe Schools Consortia established our current multi-hazard emergency management procedures and protocols.

As a result of lessons learned from school shootings, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, severe storms and other multi-hazards impacting schools, President Obama signed the Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) in March of 2011, describing a uniform approach to developing school emergency operation plans aligned with all other national preparedness efforts.

PPD-8 defines preparedness around five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. These mission areas generally align with the three timeframes associated with an incident: before, during, and after.

During the 2014-15 School year the Safe School Consortia will be convening to review our current Countywide School Emergency Response procedures as they relate to PPD-8. The updated plan will rearrange our current emergency procedures into the following Sections in compliance with both State and Federal guides for School Emergency Operations Plans. Once completed and approved by the Consortia, it will replace the current plan. It is anticipated that the current emergency procedures will remain the same, with only a few modifications and additions.

  • Section One – Basic Plan
    • Introductory Material
      • Cover page
      • Promulgation Documenter Signature Page
      • Approval and Implementation Page
      • Record of Changes
      • Record of Distribution
      • Table of Contents
    • Purpose and Situation Overview
    • Concept of Operations
    • Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities
    • Direction, Control, and Coordination
    • Information Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination
    • Training and Exercises
    • Administration, Finance, and Logistics
    • Plan Development and Maintenance
    • Authorities and References
  • Section Two – Functional Annexes
    • Evacuation Annex
    • Lockdown Annex
    • Shelter-in-Place Annex
    • Accounting for All Persons Annex
    • Communications and Warning Annex
    • Family Reunification Annex
    • Continuity of Operations (COOP) Annex
    • Recovery Annex
    • Public Health, Medical, and Mental Health Annex
    • Security Annex
    • Other’s as identified by Consortia
  • Section Three – Threat/Hazard Specific Annexes
    • Natural Hazards
    • Technological Hazards
    • Biological Hazards
    • Adversarial, Incidental, & Human-caused Threats
  • Section Four – Other Pertinent information
    • Information Sharing
      • FERPA, HIPPA Considerations in Emergency Operations Planning
    • Psychological First Aid for Schools
      • School Climate and Emergencies
      • Needs Assessments
      • Use Multi-Tiered Interventions and Supports
      • Promote Social and Emotional Competencies
    • Active Shooter Situations
      • Planning, preparation, and exercise
      • Prevention – Threat Assessments
      • Responding
  • Section Five – Resources

Community Partners

Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency
City of Capitola
Santa Cruz City Police Department
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Department
Scotts Valley Police Department
Scotts Valley Fire Department
Central Fire
Felton Fire
Aptos/La Selva Fire
Ben Lomond
Boulder Creek Fire Department
Pajaro Valley Fire