Schools in the United States are consistently alarmed with the publicity of natural and human created disasters throughout the world that often generates uncertainty regarding the safety and security of our schools. Such events question school preparedness and the adequacy of properly responding to an emergency. The impact on schools in a disaster may range from minimal to direct involvement, depending on severity. Nonetheless, any emergency situation can cripple schools that are ill-prepared to respond. San Antonio, Texas has experienced significant natural and human created disasters in recent history, emphasizing a valued need to thoroughly attune current school Emergency Operations Plans: their specification, implementation, interpretation, management, function, and validation.
San Antonio area schools, located within the Urban Areas Security Initiative Jurisdiction in accordance with the United States Department of Homeland Security, have voiced their concern about inadequate management in the face of natural disasters, terrorist threats, potential pandemic, infectious diseases and weapons in schools. Collaboration with community partners and training of school personnel are vital in strengthening school plans. ESC-20 has long-established partnerships with community agencies and continues to integrate the expertise and knowledge of emergency responders applying resources to address the gaps and weaknesses currently in school plans.
While studies show that schools are the safest places for children to be during the morning and afternoon hours, schools and communities must take steps to enhance their level of readiness for potential emergencies. Thus, the need for strengthening and improving school readiness and emergency plans is crucial and necessary.