Schools have a long history of disaster preparedness and education. Tornado and fire drills are common occurrences. In recent years, school violence has become more of an issue, and most schools have developed security plans. To avert an attack, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have asked schools be beware of:
Persons attempting to obtain site plans for schools, bus routes or attendance lists;
Prolonged surveillance by people disguised as panhandlers, shoe shiners, vendors or street sweepers;
Observations of security drills; and
Groups of people who appear to be working on campuses
The Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police recommends that all schools conduct a vulnerability assessment (download form here), have in place an all-hazards disaster plan and a specific bioterrorism plan that are integrated with other community plans, test these plans, and communicate them to parents. For more information, please click here.
In addition, schools may wish to teach lessons on homeland security issues and promote family disaster planning. For help with such lessons, the US Department of Education (click here), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (click here), and the Red Cross (click here) have established web sites with advice and resources.
With the recent threat of a pandemic influenza, it is essential that schools begin to prepare. For assistance in planning, please use the valuable resources contained in the School Toolkit for Pandemic Influenza Planning