School Safety

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A Responsibility for Safety in our Schools

School districts and individual schools are responsible for not only the education of their students, but also their safety. Not only do school staff need to know what to do in case of a fire or severe weather, but also in the event of suspicious packages, bomb threats, hazardous materials accidents, shooting incidents, hostage situations and assaults.

To that end, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked with several partnering agencies (see below)* to create some helpful planning tools. These documents were developed for the schools of Iowa to use as a template to enhance current school safety programs. Ultimately, schools can decide how much of the documents they would like to incorporate into their current plan.

The goal of the group was to make sure that every school in Iowa has a plan, and the vision was to give them a template to drive planning conversations at the local level. The plan was derived from these conversations and will increase the overall security and safety of every school in Iowa, because the schools were partnered with local first responders and county emergency managers.

The plan has been shared with at least eight states, and soon at the national level through the National Association of School Resource Officers. Threat Information and Infrastructure Protection Program (TIIPP) staff are available to discuss these school safety products and school security assessments. Questions? Email HSEMD.

In 2018 the Iowa General Assembly passed legislation that required schools to develop high-quality emergency operation plans. HSEMD collaborated with the Iowa Department of Education to provide training to school administrators and staff, along with a variety of planning tools.

View planning resources from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center.

Federal Links:

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management has also produced a brochure for teachers and administrators on preparing crisis kits:

In addition, the Iowa Association of School Boards has produced a toolkit for schools, built on the lessons learned from the 2008 disasters in Iowa. See the kit and get more information:

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