Best Practices for the Severe Weather Safety for Pre-K through Grade 12 Children at School

Best Practices for the Severe Weather Safety for Pre-K through Grade 12 Children at School

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A Best Practice Statement of the American Meteorological Society

(Adopted by the AMS Council 28 September 2022)

 

Motivation

The 2011 census report  estimated that there were in 5 million children in nursery school, 4 million children in Grade 12 during the census period. Pre-K through Grade 12 represents the most vulnerable population segment in the U.S. education system. During weather emergencies that occurs at schools, they are totally dependent on their teachers, teacher aids and school administrators to shelter them from harm’s way. While some guidance is available on a region by region or school by school basis, general guidance for best practices on a national level is limited. In addition, there is limited information about weather emergency planning for Pre-K through Grade 12 children at school. In order to determine the safest/best location to shelter in the event of severe weather, administrators are encouraged to contact appropriate technical specialists. These may include structural engineers, the architect of the project, and possible your local EM and Fire Department.

Audience

The best practices are intended to be for the benefit of the public; thus, the audience includes emergency action plan developers, school administrators and educational staff members at pre-K through Grade 12 facilities in both public and private sector.

Best Practice characteristics

This Best Practice provides every school system and every school with tools to develop a concise document that comprehensively addresses the safety of all students (pre-K through Grade 12) before, during, and after events occur. This document may include references to existing FEMA documents on weather emergency safety as well as education of pre-K through Grade 12 children on weather emergencies and their role in response to them. It provides a reviewed set of documents and websites with annotations as the grade level for which they are appropriate

Specific Best Practices:

The reviewed and recommended list of individual documents and websites the administrators, teachers and parents could use in preparing a Severe Weather Emergency Plan refer to attached list

Title

Author

Date

Location

How to Prepare Kids for Emergencies

Save the Children

no date

https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/disaster-relief-in-america/preparedness

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness: Activity Guide for K to 6th Grade Teachers

International Finance Corporation

2010

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/17678

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Guidance for Schools

International Finance Corporation

2010

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/17669

Be a Hero Youth Emergency Plan

FEMA

no date

https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=798540

Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans

FEMA
U.S. Department of Education

2013

https://rems.ed.gov/docs/School_Guide_508C.pdf

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools

U.S. Department of Education

 

https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is36/handouts%20-

Role of Districts in Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans

U.S. Department of Education

2019

https://rems.ed.gov/docs/District_Guide_508C.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

The Pillowcase Project: Learn. Practice. Share.

American Red Cross

2018

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/emergency-preparedness-for-kids/disaster-preparedness-for-teachers.html

Sample Childcare Emergency Action Plan

FEMA

2011

https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is36/handouts%20- sample%20plans/eap_sample.pdf

Mitigation Case Studies: Protecting School Children from Tornadoes

FEMA

2002

https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/protecting_school_children_tornadoes_ks_ssi.pdf

When the Weather Turns Severe: A Guide to Developing A Severe Weather Emergency Plan For Schools

Barbara Watson, NOAA

2018

https://www.weather.gov/media/aly/School%20Weather%20Safety%20Plan.pdf

Lightning Safety for Schools: An Update

Lushine, Roeder & Vavrek

2005

https://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/85062.pdf

Sample School Emergency Operations Plan" from FEMA. Used in conjunction with E/L 361 and G 364.

FEMA

2011

https://training.fema.gov/programs/emischool/el361toolkit/assets/sampleplan.pdf

Severe Weather Preparedness Guide for Schools

NOAA, National Weather Service, Green Bay, WI, Weather Forecast Office

no date

https://www.weather.gov/grb/schools

Tornado Preparedness Tips for School Administrators

Roger Edwards

no date

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/school.html

Web Sites

Multihazard Emergency Planning for Schools Site Index

FEMA

https://training.fema.gov/programs/emischool/el361toolkit/siteindex.htm

Preschool Safe Environments: Preparing for Emergencies

Department of Defense Virtual Lab School at The Ohio State University

https://www.virtuallabschool.org/preschool/safe-environments/lesson-8

 

In order to determine the safest/best location to shelter in the event of severe weather,
administrators are encouraged to contact appropriate technical specialists and a representative
faculty group. These may include structural engineers, the architect of the project, and possible
your local Emergency Management office and Fire Department.

Conclusion

The above best practice has been established to assist public and private educational settings in
developing safety plans for their students. Any questions concerning these best practices should
be addressed to the Board of Best Practices at:

amsbbpchair@gmail.com

[This statement is considered in force until September 2027 unless superseded by a new
statement issued by the AMS Council before this date.]