Professional and Legal
For Emergency Preparedness
Adapted from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency’s (FEMA’s) “Multi-Hazard Program for
Schools are a vital community resource.
School personnel have a moral and
legal responsibility to all students in their care.
Your school is responsible for
students during day-to-day operations.
After a disaster, your school may
serve as the gathering place for hundreds of people
who live or work nearby.
In most cases, teachers and staff members
will be required to remain at school until they are
released by the principal, superintendent, or
This responsibility to students in a
disaster should be covered in each individual’s
The school cafeteria should maintain a
three day food supply to feed those sheltered at the
This policy recognizes the school’s
obligation to keep students safe.
Just as school staff members will rely
on other members of the community to open blocked
roads, repair utilities, perform rescue work, etc.,
those members of the community will rely on schools
to provide for the children in their care.
Staff Members should have a family
emergency plan; that plan should anticipate that the
school staff member must stay at school.
Knowing your family is prepared and
can handle the situation will enable you to do your
Remind your family that if the
telephones are not working, you will be unable to
If the telephones work, tell them you
will wait an hour or two to keep the lines open.
Ideally, the school plan should include a
prioritization of which teachers and staff members
might be released first (such as those with small
children at home).
Staff members who live alone or a long
distance from school should be encouraged to make
special preparations for remaining at school a
longer time, such as arranging with a neighbor to
check on their home and keeping extra supplies at
If you are a school official with
decision-making authority and you neglect or avoid
taking disaster safety precautions, you may be found
personally and financially liable for damages,
injuries and deaths at your school.
Many States now require specific
disaster preparedness activities. In Kentucky,
several statutes related to emergency planning and
safe schools reporting:
K.R.S. 158.150 – Suspension or
expulsion of students
K.R.S. 158.154 – Principal’s duty to
report certain acts to local law enforcement
K.R.S. 158.163 – Earthquake and
tornado emergency procedures system
K.R.S. 158.164 – Building lockdown
procedure -- Practice
K.R.S. 158.165 – Possession and use of
personal telecommunications device.
K.R.S. 610.345 – Principal’s duty to
share “Disclosure Notices” received from courts.
Have your legal counsel check to see
that your school or district is in compliance with
current laws and standards regarding school safety.