Emergency Operations Plans—Interagency Coordination
Emergency Operations Plans—Interagency Coordination
State law encourages or requires inter-agency coordination as part of initial emergency plan development only.
Code of Alabama 16-1-44 School safety plans.
(a) (1) Each local board of education shall develop and adopt a comprehensive school emergency operations plan for each school under the authority of the board. (2) The local board or its agent shall examine the conditions and operations of each school under the authority of the local board to determine hazards to student and staff safety and shall propose changes, if needed to promote the prevention of dangerous problems and circumstances. (3) In developing the plan for each school, the local board or its agent shall involve community law enforcement and safety officials, including community fire and emergency management assigned to the school.
(b) (1) The board shall incorporate into each comprehensive school emergency operations plan the following:
- a. Protocols for addressing each type of serious threats to the safety of school property, students, employees, or administrators which shall include, but not be limited to: Security-related threats addressed within a school lockdown plan, fire-related threats addressed within a fire safety plan, and severe weather-related threats addressed within a severe weather safety plan.
- b. A protocol for responding to emergency events that compromise the safety of school property, students, and employees. (2) Each protocol shall include procedures for notification and responding to threats and emergency events, respectively, including such action as notification of appropriate law enforcement and emergency response personnel for assistance, and informing parents of affected students. (3) Each comprehensive school emergency operations plan shall include and use the following four alert levels, along with set plans of notification, action, and procedures for school personnel to follow in each circumstance:
- Heightened Awareness. This means a potential may exist for an unusual situation and all parties should have heightened awareness to react as needed.
- Secure Your Area of Responsibility. This means a specific incident has occurred, such as a medical emergency or a threat to one’s self, and school personnel shall secure their area of responsibility in order to decrease risk of further incidents.
- Secure Perimeter. A potential threat or danger does exist or has occurred within the community or neighborhood, and all parties should be aware to react as needed.
- Lockdown. Recognition of potential immediate danger. Take immediate action using the safest and best option for survival.
(c) (1) The board shall update the emergency operations plan whenever a major modification to the building requires changes in the procedures outlined in the plan, and at other necessary times. The school emergency operations safety plan shall be reviewed and revised annually, as needed, by the local board of education in consultation with the principal, administrative staff, faculty, and employees of the school. (2) Upon request of law enforcement or safety officials, or both, the local board shall provide a copy of the current school emergency operations plan, which shall be kept in a secure place and not considered public record.
(d) The local board shall grant access to each school under its control to law enforcement and fire department personnel to enable them to prepare for responding to threats and emergency events affecting the school.
(e) The principal or his or her designee shall instruct and train students concerning procedures to be used for emergency drills and evacuations. The principal or his or her designee shall ensure that all safety and security drills and procedures are conducted and performed no less than what is required by state or federal law, or both. The doors and exits of each school may be locked from the outside but shall allow for immediate egress by those inside the building during school hours and at all school functions. An emergency drill shall include, but not be limited to, safety, security, severe weather, fire, and school lockdown drills.
(f) In conjunction with drills or evacuations required by subsection (e), a principal or his or her designee shall instruct students in safety precautions to be taken in case of a severe weather watch, alert, or warning. A principal or his or her designee shall designate, in accordance with Standard prescribed by the local superintendent of education in conjunction with local public safety officials and the fire marshal, or appropriate local fire safety official in counties that do not have a fire marshal, appropriate locations to be used to shelter students in case of a severe weather watch, alert, or warning.
(g) In the event of an immediate threat to a school involving acts of violence, such as terrorism, a person possessing a firearm or a deadly weapon, or any other threat of violence, any person who perceives the threat, or his or her designee, may institute a lockdown alert level for the school. In addition to the requirements of subsection (e), the principal or his or her designee shall conduct a school lockdown drill during the first six weeks of the fall and spring semesters of each school year to provide students with instruction in the procedures to follow in the case of a school lockdown. The principal or his or her designee shall hold an annual training session for employees of the school regarding the school lockdown plan, drills, and procedures to be conducted during a school year.
(h) Appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against any principal or his or her designee who knowingly neglects or refuses to comply with the requirements of this section.
(i) This section shall be read in pari materia with other laws relating to school safety and emergency planning.