Prepare Your School

To help prepare your school for an emergency you should:
  • Post signs. Large and easy-to-read maps or signs with arrows should be posted throughout the hallways directing people to the safe areas.
  • Backup alarms. If the school's alarm system relies on electricity, have a compressed-air horn or megaphone or other backup device to sound the alert in case of power failure.
  • Make special provisions to evacuate and shelter students in portable classrooms. Portable classrooms are like mobile homes - exceptionally dangerous in a tornado or high winds.
  • Plan and exercise procedures for any functionally disabled students to ensure mobility in an evacuation. Work with the families of students with other special needs and specialists assigned to help them.
  • Make sure several staff members are trained in how to turn off electricity and gas in the event the school is damaged.
  • Communicate the school emergency plan with parents and families. Explain the policy for keeping children at school beyond regular hours if threatening weather is expected.
  • Educate the faculty and students about outdoor weather policies and warnings for severe weather.
  • Establish and communicate the severe weather policy for sports or special events and inform everyone of the policy. Plan for gymnasiums, theaters, and lunch rooms or other large spaces to be evacuated in an emergency.
  • Know the county in which your school sits, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins. Online maps and weather sources can be valuable, but if the power is out, it helps to have paper maps.
  • Make sure the school’s NOAA Weather Radio is operating (with battery backup) and can be heard by staff. Know what the different warnings mean. Make sure the radio is properly programmed for the county.
  • Establish and practice the in-school emergency communications plan to ensure that all teachers, classes, and staff are informed of any emergency -including those on athletic fields or playgrounds.