Communication During an Emergency
Communication is a critical part of emergency
management. School staff and students must be told
what is happening and what to do. Parents of
students and families of staff members must be
informed about the situation, including the status
of their child or family member. Timely contact
with law enforcement and other emergency services is
necessary for effective response. School Board
members must be kept informed and updated.
Information must be transmitted to Central Office
and to other affected schools. And finally, the
media must be informed and kept updated.
After an Emergency
The principal will need to notify staff of an event
or emergency and keep them informed as additional
information becomes available and as plans for
management of the situation evolve.
The Telephone Tree
telephone tree is a simple, widely used system for
notifying staff of an emergency event when they are
not at school. Set up a telephone tree by listing
the first in Building Chain of Command (Principal or
Incident Commander). Then link him/her to several
on the Emergency Management Response Team; then link
to different staff groupings (teachers, support
staff, etc.). In practice, the first person on the
list calls several people who in turn call others,
etc., until everyone on the list has been notified
of the situation. A carefully crafted statement,
specifying what is and is not yet known, and what
steps may need to be taken, should be drafted before
the telephone tree is activated.
The Morning Faculty Meeting
early, brief faculty meeting provides the
opportunity to give accurate, updated information
about an emergency event/situation itself and to
review with staff procedures for the day, including
the availability of intervention resources.
The End-of-Day-One Faculty/Staff
brief end-of-day-one meeting provides the
opportunity to review day one of an emergency, to
update information, and plan for day two.
Misinformation or rumors can be addressed before
staff members go home or into the community where
they are likely to be asked about the situation.