Emergency Planning
Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools

Pandemic Preparation
Conference on School Safety
Crisis Planning Guide
Additional Resources

This page provides information that can help school leaders plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent incidents and terrorist acts. For more information about what families and communities can do to be ready for an emergency, please visit

  • Campus Violence Report
    In response to the Virginia Tech incident on April 16, 2007, this report looks at the scope of violence at institutions of higher education. (April 2010)

  • Action Guide for Emergency Management at Institutions of Higher Education
    This Action Guide, released in January 2009, offers higher education institutions a useful resource in the field of emergency management.

  • Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Peanut Butter and Peanut Products -- Sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium have been confirmed to be peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia, processing plant. (January 2009)

  • Hurricane Information -- Be ready, get help, find family, donate and volunteer, learn what government is doing, and more. (September, 2008)

  • Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events -- Practical information for parents, students, teachers, and others who are coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster. (September 2005)

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy -- Proposed Rule (March 24, 2008)

  • Beef Recall Information -- Learn about actions taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a result of the ongoing investigation of the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company. (March 6, 2008)

  • Federal Disaster Assistance -- consolidates information about federally funded government assistance to disaster victims in one place. (December 31, 2008)

Crisis Planning Resources

  • Attacks Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education
    In response to the tragic shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“Virginia Tech”) on April 16, 2007, former cabinet Secretaries Michael Leavitt and Margaret Spellings, and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted the Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy dated June 13, 2007. The report included a recommendation that the U.S. Secret Service (USS), the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) explore the issue of violence at institutions of higher education (IHEs). Accordingly, ED/USS/FBI initiated a collaborative effort to understand the nature of this violence and identify ways of preventing future attacks that would affect our nation’s colleges and universities. In total, 272 incidents were identified through a comprehensive search of more than 115,000 results in open-source reporting from 1900 to 2008. The findings are pertinent and far-reaching, and the incidents studied include all forms of targeted violence, ranging from domestic violence to serial killers. The report is available for viewing at in PDF format.

  • Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools
    FY 2008 Grant Award Recipients

  • Balancing Privacy and Safety
    Secretary Spellings announced guidance to help schools balance students' privacy rights with school safety concerns.

  • MRSA in Schools
    Answers to commonly asked questions about MRSA skin infections in schools (from the U.S. Department of Education). download files MS Word (40 KB)

  • MRSA Skin Infections
    Answers to questions about MRSA skin infections (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

  • FY 2007 Awards for Emergency Response and Crisis Management Discretionary Grant Program
    download files MS Word(91 KB) | PDF(55 KB)

  • Webcasts on Emergency Management for Schools Training
    Four webcasts and accompanying materials look at the four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The webcasts were filmed at Emergency Management for Schools training meetings provided for school staff and administrators in March 2007.

  • Webcast on School Emergency Planning
    This November 2006 webcast provides parents, educators, school administrators and local safety personnel with an opportunity to review key considerations related to school emergency management planning. Learn about how schools can help mitigate, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a crisis.

  • Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Grant ProgramAwards and press release

  • Practical Information on Crisis PlanningA brochure and complete guide on crisis planning for schools and communities.

  • Pandemic Flu PreparednessResources to help school leaders plan and prepare for pandemic flu.

  • Safe and Drug-Free SchoolsSelected resources from the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Bomb Threat Assessment Guide
    "Bomb Threat Response: An Interactive Planning Tool for Schools" is an interactive CD-ROM that can help schools be prepared to respond to a bomb threat. The CD-ROM, online support, and other information are available at (October 2003)

  • Campus Public Safety: Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Protective Measures
    The Office for Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has published a series of suggestions to guide and inform public safety planning efforts to prevent, deter or effectively respond to a weapons of mass destruction terrorist attack on college campuses.
    April 2003

  • The 3 R's to Dealing with Trauma in Schools: Readiness, Response and Recovery
    This teleconference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Harvard School Public Health, explores issues related to trauma, its impact on children, and implications for schools and school personnel.
    Original airdate: April 23, 2002

  • National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities - Disaster Preparedness for Schools
    This clearinghouse provides a list of links, books, and articles on building or retrofitting schools to withstand natural disasters and terrorism, developing emergency preparedness plans, and using school buildings to shelter community members during emergencies.

  • Project SERV: School Emergency Response to Violence
    Project SERV provides education-related services to school districts where the learning environment has been disrupted due to a violent or traumatic crisis. Funds may be used to assist schools facing an undue financial hardship in providing extraordinary services due to an event that has had a traumatic affect on the learning environment.

  • Reports and Resources
    Publications, listservs, online events, surveys, policy guidance, and technical assistance centers from ED's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

Examples of Promising Practices in School Emergency Response

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Last Modified: 03/08/2011