School Safety Plans

The Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West has served as a leader in helping local school districts develop strategies to prepare, prevent, respond, and recover from school emergencies. 

On October 1, 2005, the Lucas County Educational Service Center (now known as the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West) was awarded $498,125.00 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools to develop a program of Emergency Response and Crisis Management for area school districts. Lucas County Educational Service Center was one of 93 grant winners selected from school districts throughout the country in the 2005 grant competition.

This grant enabled the Educational Service Center to work with area school districts to develop regional proactive emergency preparedness programs and crisis response plans The plan included security and vulnerability assessments of school facilities; updating each district’s comprehensive emergency management plan to the latest Department of Homeland Security standards; and conducting extensive training and exercises with school district administrators and staff. The Educational Service Center coordinated these activities with officials from local police and fire departments that served the participating school districts; the Lucas County Sheriff;  the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency; the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board; the Toledo-Lucas County Health Health Department; and the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities to ensure that crises – whether school or community-originated – could be addressed quickly and effectively through an integrated approach.

Currently, the ESC of Lake Erie West is working with the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency to coordinate information sessions on the new Ohio safety plan requirements.

Safer Schools Ohio: The Center for P-20 Safety and Security was formed as a collaborative effort between the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Department of Education to create safe and supportive learning environments and respond to violence and its causes in educational settings throughout Ohio.  Center personnel focus on school climate, safety, security and emergency management concerns in the K-12 and higher education environments, providing guidance and direction to promote physically safe and emotionally secure environments for students, educators, and staff. Available at

Ohio Homeland Security: This agency provides a variety of school resources guides related to school safety. Available at

Ohio Attorney General: This office provides a variety of resources to help schools be compliant with school safety compliance requirements. Available at


In the event of a school emergency, it is important to understand these terms:

Lockdown - A lockdown takes place if an internal or external threat is identified at the school. All school doors are locked and students are confined to classrooms. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed until an “all-clear” announcement is made.

Shelter in Place - Students take refuge in designated areas to protect from hazardous materials or severe weather. No entry into or exit from the school will be allowed until an “all-clear” announcement is made.

Evacuation - In the event of certain building emergencies, students will be relocated to an evacuation assembly area. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians with permission from a district official. This is necessary to account for the whereabouts of all students.

Reverse Evacuation - Students are evacuated from the outside of building to the interior in the event of an outside threat. No entry to or exit from the school will be allowed until an all-clear announcement is made.

Reunification - Parents/guardians will be directed by school or public safety officials via TV/radio to their child’s specific location. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians who are documented as emergency contacts and who present a picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport. The reunification process can be time consuming, so parents are urged to be patient.

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center: The Center supports schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education in the development of high-quality emergency operations plans (EOPs) and comprehensive emergency management planning efforts. Established in October 2004 and administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS), the REMS TA Center provides a hub of information, resources, training, and services in the field of school and higher ed emergency operations planning. Accessible at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters
The CDC offers information on a broad variety of topics related to emergency preparedness.
Accessible at:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
DHS organizes and unifies our nation’s security and emergency management efforts. DHS ’s mission is to “prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the nation.” DHS manages and coordinates the emergency management efforts of multiple Federal, State and local agencies, DHS offers resources for school communities at the Federal, State and local levels. Department of Homeland Security:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Part of DHS, FEMA works to prepare the nation for all potential hazards and contributes to the Federal response and recovery efforts following emergencies. FEMA provides information, guidance and resources addressing the four phases of emergency management, as well as incident specific issues related to emergency management. FEMA:

National Incident Management System (NIMS)  The NIMS provides rules, regulations and guidance that school districts can use to prepare for and respond to an emergency. The NIMS presents a unified system for managing crises and addressing the roles and responsibilities of all local, State and Federal emergency planners. The NIMS places an emphasis on mutual aid and inter-agency collaboration.

Kentucky Center for School Safety’s Emergency Management Guide
The Kentucky Center for School Safety created the school-based Emergency Management Guide as a broad support for preventing, planning for and responding to a variety of emergencies at school. The guide provides step-by-step guidance and resources for developing school crisis plans. From multi-hazard to threat specific, the guide supports an all-hazards approach complete with a comprehensive section regarding trauma and recovery.
Accessible at:

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. They provide a variety of resource to help individuals and organizations (including schools) prepare and train for emergencies.
Accessible at

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) “School Safety Toolkit” 
Accessible at:

 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) “School Safety Guides and Reports CD-ROM”
The COPS Office created a CD-ROM composed of more than 30 COPS Office and other U.S. Department of Justice agency links and documents related to youth violence, gangs, bullying, and drugs, and safety. The CD-ROM is divided into three categories: COPS School Safety and Youth Violence Publications, Government Publications and School Safety Related Documents and Resources. The “School Safety Guides and Reports CD-ROM” provides school emergency management teams and their community partners with tools for collaboratively preparing for and responding to crises.
Accessible at:

Safe Schools Checklist
Created by The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the checklist combines the nation’s best school facility assessment measures into one, comprehensive, Internet-accessible tool. School safety teams can use this tool to assess their physical environment and identify hazards and vulnerabilities on their campuses. The checklist addresses accident prevention, crime prevention and disaster mitigation (e.g., the effects of potential natural disasters and terrorist acts), and applies the basic principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
Accessible at:

Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative
The Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative is a Federal grant program designed to prevent violence and substance abuse among youth in schools and the community. The U.S. Departments of Education (ED), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) collaboratively support the SS/HS Initiative, which aims to develop a listing of best practices that promote safe and healthy learning environments for America’s children and adolescents.
Accessible at:


American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association offers an extensive set of resources on different topics related to school safety.
Accessible at:

Bomb Threat Response: An Interactive Planning Tool for Schools.
The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) collaborated to develop this tool (CD) for schools and law enforcement. The CD is available for free, and it offers a comprehensive guide on how to best respond to bomb threats in schools. The planning tool offers guidance for schools administrators and law enforcement to develop policies specific to the school district and its unique needs. The Bomb Threat Response also addresses communication and presents guidelines for how to communicate during the response phase.
Accessible at:

Ready Campaign Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) The USDA is the Federal agency responsible for performing research, implementing programs and developing policy to support the nation’s agriculture programs. The USDA offers specific programs to school districts and communities to promote a safe and healthy school environment for youth, including school lunch and breakfast programs, food safety programs and nutrition. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) as well the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) can be accessed through the department’s Home page.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enhances the physical and mental health of all citizens through research, program implementation, training, technical assistance and service delivery. HHS leads a variety of agencies and programs that address issues within the four phases of crisis planning and supports school and community safety programs: Emergency Readiness and Response, Mental Health in Schools, Violence Prevention, Substance Abuse and Healthy Youth.

U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) works to protect and defend the nation’s citizens through the provision of law enforcement, implementation of prevention programs and on-going public safety efforts through the just and impartial application of the law. DOJ manages numerous programs that continually develop resources and present effective practices supporting the needs of the school crisis management and security communities.

U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of the various agencies under the Department of Transportation has a school bus safety program that is committed to reducing school bus-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities through both behavioral programs and vehicle regulations. NHTSA works to educate school bus drivers, students, and other motorists about safe behavior that reduces the risk of being involved in a school bus-related crash.

American Association on Health and Disability
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) has actively participated in the emergency preparedness and disaster response field for people with disabilities.  AAHD and its partners have developed several publications on emergency preparedness and disaster response for people with disabilities. 
Accessible at

Be Prepared for a School Emergency

Ensure that your child’s emergency contact information is accurate and current.
Print out the downloadable brochure below. Remove the Emergency Procedure Card and carry it with you at all times.
Become familiar with your schools’ emergency communication procedures. Each school district is committed to providing accurate and timely information in the event of an emergency.

Parent Guide

In Case of a School Emergency

DO NOT call or rush to your child’s school. Phone lines and staff are needed for emergency response efforts.
DO NOT phone your child. Staff and students will be discouraged from using cell phone communication for safety reasons.
Tune in to local TV/radio stations for official school news alerts.
Rely only on official communication from school or public safety officials.
Listen for official information regarding reunification with your child.

Reuniting With Your Child

Parents/guardians will be directed by school or public safety officials via TV/radio to their child’s specific location. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians who are documented as emergency contacts and who present a picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport.

The reunification process can be time consuming, so parents are urged to be patient.

Following an Emergency:

Listen to and acknowledge your child’s concerns.
Provide reassurance that your child is safe.
Assure your child that additional prevention efforts are being put into place.
Seek help from school personnel if concerns persist.

Ready Gov
Ready Gov is a tool to help students, parents and teachers prepare for emergencies. Ready Gov is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready campaign, a national public service advertising campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies.

Emergency Management Institute: The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public. All are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify for enrollment.
Accessible at