Policy #806 Form


Resources are available to assist school districts in drafting a Crisis Management Policy and/or building-specific crisis management plans. Please contact any of the organizations listed below for assistance:

A. Minnesota Department of Education

Division of Compliance and Assistance

1500 Highway 36 West

Roseville, MN 55113-4266

651-582-8705 FAX: 651-582-8725


Division of Safe and Healthy Learners

1500 Highway 36 West

Roseville, MN 55113-4266

651-582-8309 FAX: 651-582-8725

www.education.state.mn.us/mde/Learning_Support/Safe_and_Healthy_Learners/ index.html

B. Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

444 Cedar Street, Suite 223

St. Paul, MN 55101-6223

651-296-2233 FAX: 651-296-0459


1C. Minnesota Department of Public Safety

State Fire Marshall Division

444 Cedar Street, Suite 145

St. Paul, MN 55101-5145

651-282-6555 FAX: 651-215-0525

D. Minnesota School Boards Association

1900 West Jefferson Avenue

St. Peter, MN 56082-3015

800-324-4459 FAX: 507-931-1515



E. Knutson, Flynn & Deans

MSBA/MASA Policy Services Legal Counsel

1155 Centre Pointe Drive, Suite 10

St. Paul, MN 55120-1268

651-222-2811 FAX: 651-225-0600



U.S. Department of Education


The site includes crisis planning resources, including Practical Information on Crisis Planning – A Guide for Schools and Communities, January 2007; and A Bomb Threat Assessment Guide which is available on CD-Rom.

Information on school security equipment and technology, including a link to The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools, September 1999, National Institute of Justice.


Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and To Creating Safe School Climates (U.S. Department of Education, May 2002)


The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States (U.S. Department of Education, May 2002)


For support, advice, and assistance for coordination of outside mental health resources, consult with the Minnesota Department of Education, Division of Safe and Healthy Learners. Phone: 651-582-8352


A school safety guide is available through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


Additional Web Sites:





Your local emergency response agencies (law enforcement, fire, emergency management) can also assess your building and situation, suggest changes, and assist in drafting building-specific crisis management/emergency plans.


In the event of a fire, smoke from a fire or detection of a gas odor:

• Pull fire alarm and notify building occupants by means of


• Evacuate students and staff to the designated areas.

◦ These areas should be a safe distance away from emergency personnel.

◦ Be aware of the arrival of emergency responders. See map of evacuation routes and assembly areas located


(or included in this manual on next page)

• Follow primary fire drill route whenever possible. Follow alternate route if primary route is blocked or dangerous. See map, located


(or included in this manual on next page)

◦ Teachers take class roster.

◦ Teachers take attendance after evacuation.

◦ Teachers report missing students to building administrator immediately.

• If trapped by fire, go to Shelter-in-Place Procedures.

Building administrator:

• Building administrator notifies fire department (call 911) and superintendent.

• Building administrator or designee meets with emergency officials as soon as possible.

• After consulting with appropriate official, building administrator may move students to primary relocation center at ______________________________________ if weather is inclement or building is damaged.

Do not reenter buildings until they are declared safe by fire or law enforcement personnel.

• Building administrator notifies staff and students of termination of emergency.

Fire drills should be held at varied times during the school day.

Practice both primary and alternate routes.

Extra staffing is necessary for students with special medical or physical needs.


Incident occurs in school:

• Notify building administrator/office.

• Call 911. If the type and/or location of hazardous material is known, report that information to 911.

• Evacuate to an upwind location, taking class roster. Teachers take attendance after evacuation.

• Seal off area of leak/spill. Close doors.

• Fire officer in charge will determine additional shelter-in-place or evacuation actions.

• Shut off heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in contaminated area to reduce the spread of contamination.

• Building administrator notifies superintendent.

• Notify parents/guardians if students are evacuated, according to district policy and/or guidance.

• Resume normal operations when fire officials approve.

Incident occurs near school property:

• Fire or law enforcement will notify school officials.

• Consider closing outside air intake, evacuating students to a safe area, or sheltering students inside the building until emergency passes or relocation is necessary.

• Fire officer in charge of scene will instruct school officials on the need for sheltering or evacuation.

• Follow procedures for sheltering or evacuation.

• If evacuating, teachers take class rosters and take attendance after evacuation.

• If evacuation is not ordered, be aware of and remain alert for any change in health conditions of students and staff, especially respiratory problems. Seek medical attention if necessary.

• Notify parents/guardians if students are evacuated, according to district policy and/or guidance.

• Resume normal operations when fire officials approve.

Extra staffing is necessary for students with special medical and/or physical needs.



Tornado/severe thunderstorm WATCH has been issued in an area near school:

• Monitor NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (National Weather Service) or emergency alert radio stations.

• Bring all persons inside building(s).

• Close windows.

• Review tornado drill procedures and location of safe areas.

Tornado safe areas are interior hallways or rooms away from exterior walls and windows and away from large rooms with long-span ceilings.

• Review “drop and tuck” procedures with students.

Tornado/severe thunderstorm WARNING has been issued in an area near school, or a tornado has been spotted near school:

• Move students and staff to safe areas.

• Close classroom doors.

• Teachers take class rosters.

• Ensure that students are in “tuck” positions.

• Teachers take attendance.

• Remain in safe area until warning expires or emergency personnel have issued an all-clear signal.

Post diagrams in each classroom showing routes to areas. Attach a building diagram showing safe areas.


• Monitor NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and emergency alert radio stations. Stay in contact with emergency management officials.

• Review evacuation procedures with staff.

• Check relocation centers. Find an alternate relocation center if primary and secondary centers would also be flooded.

• Check transportation resources.

• If district officials and emergency responders advise evacuation, do so immediately.

• Teachers take class rosters.

• Teachers take attendance.

• Notify parents/guardians according to district policy.

Refer to Severe Weather Awareness Week postings at www.hsem.state.mn.us for further information on severe weather safety.


Life-threatening injury or illness, or death:

• Notify office staff/building administrator to make emergency calls. If unable to reach office immediately, call 911. Work as a team.

• Give full attention to the victim(s).

• Do not attempt to move a person who is ill or injured unless he/she is in immediate danger of further injury.

• If possible, isolate the affected student/staff member. Disperse onlookers and keep others from congregating in the area.

• Check breathing. Is the airway clear? Is the victim in a position to facilitate breathing?

• Help stop bleeding.

◦ Applying pressure on wound or elevating wound may help stop or slow bleeding.

◦ Protect yourself from body fluids. Use gloves if available.

• Check for vital signs. Initiate first aid, if you are trained.

• Comfort the victim(s) and offer reassurance that medical attention is on the way.

• After immediate medical needs have been cared for, remain to assist emergency medical services personnel with pertinent information about the incident.

Non-life-threatening injury or illness:

• For all non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, call the office/nurse.


• In case of traumatic medical emergency or death at school:

◦ Notify superintendent.

◦ Notify victim’s parents, guardians, or family.

◦ Activate post-crisis procedures, if necessary.

• In all other medical emergencies, assess individual’s need for post-crisis intervention.


• Ensure the safety of students and staff first.

• Notify building administrator/security/law enforcement. Work as a team, especially when separating participants.

• Don’t let a crowd incite participants. Disperse onlookers and keep others from congregating in the area.

• When participants are separated, do not allow further visual or verbal contact.

• Document all activities witnessed by staff.

• Deal with event according to school’s discipline policy.

• Building administrator notifies parents/guardians of students involved in fight. Superintendent and police may be notified as necessary, or as indicated by school policy.

• Assess counseling needs of participants and witnesses. Implement post-crisis procedures as needed.

For fights or disturbances that elevate to possible assault level, refer to Assault guidance.


• Ensure the safety of students and staff first.

• Notify building administrator. Work as a team.

• Notify law enforcement if circumstances lead you to believe that criminal activity is involved, e.g., if a weapon is used, if there has been a sexual assault or there is a physical injury that causes substantial pain.

• Seal off area to preserve evidence and disperse onlookers.

• If victim requires medical attention, follow Medical Emergency procedures.

Do not leave the victim alone.

• Notify parents/guardians and superintendent per district policy.

• Document all activities witnessed by staff.

• Assess counseling needs and implement post-crisis procedures as needed.


Intruder – an unauthorized person who enters school property:

Minn. Stat. § 609.605, Subd. 4, gives a school building administrator authority to have persons removed from school property as trespassers if they are not authorized to be there.

• Politely greet intruder and identify yourself.

◦ Consider asking another staff person to accompany you before approaching intruder.

• Inform intruder that all visitors must register at the main office.

◦ Ask intruder the purpose of his/her visit. If possible, attempt to identify the individual and/or vehicle.

• If intruder’s purpose is not legitimate, ask him/her to leave. Accompany intruder to exit.

• Notify building administrator or law enforcement.

If intruder refuses to leave:

• Notify building administrator and law enforcement if intruder refuses to leave. Give law enforcement full description of intruder.

• Back away from intruder if he/she indicates a potential for violence. Allow an avenue of escape. To the extent possible, maintain visual contact.

◦ Be aware of intruder’s actions at this time (where he/she is located in school building, whether he/she is carrying a weapon or package, etc.).

◦ Maintaining visual contact and knowing the location of the intruder is less disruptive than doing a building-wide search later.

Should the situation escalate quickly, the building administrator may decide at any time to initiate lockdown procedures.

Note: To assist staff members who interact with a stranger at school, use the “I CAN” rule.






Staff or students who are aware of a weapon brought to school:

• Immediately notify building administrator, teacher or law enforcement.

◦ Give the following information:

▪ Name of person suspected of bringing the weapon.

▪ Location of the weapon.

▪ Whether the suspect has threatened anyone.

▪ Any other details that may prevent the suspect from hurting someone or himself/herself.

• Teachers who suspect that a weapon is in the classroom: STAY CALM.

◦ Do not call attention to the weapon.

◦ Notify the building administrator, the school resource officer or a neighboring teacher as soon as possible.

◦ Teacher should not leave the classroom.

Building administrator:

• Call law enforcement to report that a weapon is suspected in school.

• Ask another administrator or a law enforcement officer to participate in questioning the suspected student or staff member.

◦ Consider the best time and place to approach the person, taking into account these factors if possible:

▪ Need for assistance from law enforcement.

▪ Type of weapon.

▪ Safety of persons in the area.

▪ State of mind of the suspected person.

▪ Accessibility of the weapon.

• Separate student/staff member from weapon, if possible.

• If the suspect threatens you with the weapon, DO NOT try to disarm him/her. Back away with your hands up. STAY CALM.

• Follow district procedures if you need to conduct a weapons search.

• Document all activities related to a weapons incident according to reporting requirements of the district and Minnesota Statutes.

• If the suspect is a student, notify parent(s)/guardian(s) according to district policy.


If a person displays a firearm or begins shooting:

• Move to or seek safe shelter. Go to lockdown procedures.

• Notify building administrator/law enforcement.

• Call 911.

If you hear gunshots:

• If possible, determine where shooting is taking place.

• Seek safe shelter.

◦ If outside, stay as low to the ground as possible, and find any kind of cover.

◦ If inside, go to lockdown procedures.

• Teachers take attendance and notify the building administrator of missing students or staff as soon as it is safe to do so.

Building administrator/school resource officer/security/law enforcement:

• Building administrator may order lockdown procedures.

• Assess the situation as to:

◦ The shooter’s location.

◦ Injuries.

◦ Potential for additional shooting.

• Call 911 and give as much detail as possible about the situation.

• Secure the school, if appropriate.

• Help students and staff find safe shelter.

• Care for the injured if it is safe to do so until emergency responders arrive. Do not add to the victim list by exposing yourself to danger.

• Notify superintendent’s office.

• Refer media to district spokesperson per media procedures.

• Initiate post-crisis procedures.

Work with local law enforcement to identify their response methods and capabilities. Provide them with updated building diagrams.


Witness to a hostage situation:

If the hostage-taker is unaware of your presence, DO NOT INTERVENE!

• Notify building administrator. Building administrator may wish to initiate lockdown procedures or evacuation.

• Call 911. Give dispatcher details of situation.

• Seal off area near hostage scene.

• Police will take control of hostage scene; building administrator coordinates with police for safety and welfare of students and staff.

• Document all activities.

If taken hostage:

• Cooperate with hostage-taker to the fullest extent possible.

• Try not to panic. Calm students if they are present.

• Treat the hostage-taker as normally as possible.

• Be respectful to the hostage-taker.

• Ask permission to speak; do not argue or make suggestions.


Critical information:

• Schools are responsible for assessing bomb threats to determine credibility.

• All bomb threats must be taken seriously until they are assessed.

• The decision whether or not to evacuate rests with the school, not the responding agencies, unless a device is located.

Procedures upon receiving a bomb threat:

By phone call

◦ Complete the Checklist for Telephone Threats.

By written note

◦ Preserve evidence.

◦ Place note in plastic bag, if available.

◦ Photograph words written on walls.

• Notify building administrator or designee.

• Notify law enforcement.

• Building administrator orders evacuation or other actions according to threat assessment and school policy.

Caution: Overreacting may encourage additional threats.

Scanning process considerations:

• Scan classrooms and common areas for suspicious items. Scans should be made by people who are familiar with the building. Assign staff to certain areas of the building. Keep in mind that a bomb could be placed anywhere on school property – inside or outside.

• Any suspicious devices, packages, etc., should be pointed out to emergency responders. Do not touch.

• Once a device is located, emergency responders take responsibility for it.

Evacuation considerations:

• If a decision is made to evacuate, notify staff via phone system, hardwired PA system or by messenger. Do not use cell phones, radios or fire alarm system because of risk of activating a device.

• While notification is being made, other staff should survey the grounds to clear exits and areas where students and staff will be going. Exit routes should be altered accordingly if the location of the device is known.

• When evacuating, leave everything as-is. Leave room doors unlocked. Teachers take class roster.

Bomb squads generally will not search a building unless a suspicious package has been located.


If a telephone threat references a chemical or biological device or package, complete the Checklist for Telephone Threats procedures and refer to safety procedures in Bomb Threat and Hazardous Materials sections.

This page addresses receiving, by mail or delivery service, a suspicious letter or package that might be a chemical or biological threat.

When sorting mail or receiving delivered packages:

• Look for characteristics that make you suspicious of the content.

◦ excessive postage, excessive weight

◦ misspellings of common words

◦ oily stains, discolorations, odor

◦ no return address or showing a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address

◦ package not anticipated by someone in the school or not sent by a known school vendor

If a letter/package is opened and contains a written threat by no suspicious substance:

• Notify building administrator and law enforcement.

• Limit access to the area in which the letter/package was opened to minimize the number of people who might directly handle it. It is considered criminal evidence.

• Ask the person who discovered/opened the letter or package to place it into another container, such as a plastic bag.

• Turn the letter/package over to law enforcement. Document all activities.

If a letter or package is opened and contains some type of suspicious substance:

• Notify building administrator and law enforcement.

• Isolate the people who have been exposed to the substance. The goal here is to prevent/minimize spreading contamination.

• Limit access to the area in which the letter/package was opened.

• Ask the person who discovered/opened the letter/package to place it into another container, such as a clear plastic zip-lock bag. Handle with gloves if possible.

• Emergency officials will determine the need for decontamination of the area and the people exposed to the substance.

Building administrator:

• Building administrator and emergency officials determine whether evacuation is necessary.

• Building administrator notifies superintendent. Notification is made to parents/guardians, according to district policies.

• Implement post-crisis procedures as necessary.

Consider having gloves and zip-lock bags available at mail sorting areas.


If you receive a telephone threat (bomb/chemical/other):

Remain calm

Do not hang up. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible and listen carefully.

Ask the following questions:

• Where is the bomb/chemical or other hazard?

• When will it explode/be activated?

• What does it look like?

• What kind of bomb/hazard is it?

• What will cause it to explode/activate?

• What is your name?

• Did you place the bomb/hazard? WHY?

• Where are you?

Exact wording of the threat:_______________________________________________________

If voice is familiar, who did it sound like?____________________________________________

Caller ID information:malefemaleadultjuvenileage
Call origin:locallong distanceinternalcell phone

Caller’s voice: Note pattern of speech, type of voice, tone. Check all that apply.

DrunkenFamiliarIncoherentDeep breathing

Background sounds: Check all that apply.

VoicesAirplanesStreet noisesTrainsQuietBells
HornsHouse noisesPA systemMusicFactory machines
MotorPhone boothOther:

Threat language: Check all that apply.

Well-spoken (educated)



Message read from script

Did caller indicate knowledge of the building? Give specifics:__________________________

Person receiving call:________________ Phone number where call received:_______________



If demonstrators are near but not on school property:

• Building administrator notifies staff and superintendent’s office.

• Monitor situation. Notify law enforcement if necessary.

If demonstrators are on school property:

• Ensure safety of students and staff, particularly safe entry into and exit from the building.

• Building administrator notifies staff and superintendent’s office.

• Building administrator asks demonstrators to leave school property. Warn them that they are violating the state trespass statute. Notify law enforcement if necessary.

If demonstrators leave, continue to monitor the situation.

If demonstrators do not leave, notify law enforcement. Building administrator may initiate “lockdown with warning.” (See Lockdown Procedures)


Suicide threat:

• Consider any student reference to suicide as serious.

• Do not leave the student alone.

• Notify the school counselor, social worker, psychologist, or building administrator immediately.

• Stay with the student until suicide intervention staff arrives.

• Do not allow the student to leave school without parent, guardian, or other appropriate adult supervision.

Suicide attempt in school:

• Notify building administrator, school nurse, or other appropriate professional staff.

• Call 911 if the person needs medical attention, has a weapon, needs to be restrained, or parent/guardian cannot be reached.

• Try to calm the suicidal person.

• Stay with the suicidal person until suicide intervention staff arrives.

• Isolate the suicidal person or the area, if possible.

• Initiate first aid.

• Do not allow the student to leave school without parent, guardian, or other appropriate adult supervision.

Building administrator:

• Call parent(s) or guardian(s) if the suicidal person is a student.

• Call family or emergency contact if suicidal person is a staff member.

• Notify superintendent or appropriate district level administrator.

• Work with district public information officer.

• Implement post-crisis procedures.


One means of securing the school is to implement lockdown procedures. These procedures may be called for in the following instances:

1) Lockdown with warning – The threat is outside of the school building. The school may have been notified of a potential threat outside of the building.

2) Lockdown with intruder – The threat/intruder is inside the building.

Lockdown with warning procedures:

• Building administrator will order and announce “lockdown with warning” procedures. Repeat announcement several times. Be direct. Code words lead to confusion.

• Bring people inside.

• Lock exterior doors.

• Clear hallways, restrooms, and other rooms that cannot be secured.

• Pull shades. Keep students away from windows.

• Control all movement, but continue classes. Disable bells. Move on announcement only.

• Building administrator will announce “all clear.”

Lockdown with intruder procedures (these actions happen rapidly):

• Building administrator will order and announce “lockdown with intruder.” Repeat announcement several times. Be direct. Code words lead to confusion.

• Immediately direct all students, staff and visitors into nearest classroom or secured space. Classes that are outside of the building SHOULD NOT enter the building. Move outside classes to primary evacuation site.

• Lock classroom doors.

• DO NOT lock exterior doors.

• Move people away from windows and doors. Turn off lights.

• DO NOT respond to anyone at the door until “all clear” is announced.

• Keep out of sight.

• Building administrator will announce “all clear.”

Some other threats may override lockdown, i.e., confirmed fire, intruder in classroom, etc. Consider making an action plan for people in large common areas, i.e., cafeteria, gymnasium.

Lockdown may be initiated in non-threatening circumstances to keep people away from areas where there may be a medical emergency or disturbance.


Sheltering in place provides refuge for students, staff and the public inside the school building during an emergency. Shelters are located in areas of the building that maximize the safety of inhabitants.

Sheltering in place is used when evacuation would put people at risk (i.e., tornado, environmental hazard, blocked evacuation route).

Shelter areas may change depending on the emergency:

• Identify safe areas in each school building.

• Building administrator announces that students and staff must go to shelter areas.

• Bring all persons inside building(s).

• Teachers take class rosters.

• Close all exterior doors and windows, if appropriate.

• Turn off ventilation leading outdoors, if appropriate.

• Teachers account for all students after arriving in shelter area.

• All persons remain in shelter areas until a building administrator or emergency responder declares that it is safe to leave.

If all evacuation routes are blocked:

• Stay in room and close door.

• Keep air as clean as possible.

◦ Seal door.

◦ Open or close windows as appropriate.

◦ Limit movement and talking in room.

• Communicate your situation to administration or emergency officials by whatever means possible.



• Building administrator initiates evacuation procedures.

• Evacuation routes may be specified according to the type of emergency. They may need to be changed for safety reasons.

◦ Bombs: Building administrator notifies staff of evacuation route dictated by known or suspected location of device.

◦ Fire: Follow primary routes unless blocked by smoke or fire. Know the alternate route.

◦ Chemical spill: Total avoidance of hazardous materials is necessary as fumes can overcome people in seconds. Plan route accordingly.

• Teachers take class rosters.

• Do not lock classroom doors when leaving.

• When outside the building, account for all students. Immediately inform building administrator of any missing student(s).


• Building administrator determines whether students and staff should be evacuated to a relocation center.

• Building administrator or school emergency response team designee notifies relocation center.

• If necessary, a school emergency response team designee coordinates transportation to relocation center.

• Teachers stay with class en route to the relocation center and take attendance upon arriving at the center.

• Use student release forms for students who are picked up from a relocation center.

• Notify superintendent’s office and district public information office of relocation center address.

Relocation centers:

List primary and secondary student relocation centers. The primary site is usually located close to the school. The secondary site is usually located farther away. Include maps and written directions to centers for staff reference.

Primary Relocation Center:__________________ Secondary Relocation Center:____________

Address:_________________________________ Address:____________________________

Phone:___________________________________ Phone:______________________________


All staff must refer media contacts to district spokesperson. The school district, in coordination with assisting agencies, assumes responsibility for issuing public statements during an emergency.

• Superintendent serves as district spokesperson unless he/she designates a spokesperson. If spokesperson is unavailable, an alternate assumes responsibilities.

District spokesperson:___________________________ ________________________

Name Contact number(s)

Alternate spokesperson:__________________________ ________________________

Name Contact number(s)

Consider pre-designating site spokespersons.

• District Public Information (PI) person helps district spokesperson coordinate media communications.

District PI:____________________________________ ________________________

Name Contact number

Alternate PI:___________________________________ ________________________

Name Contact number

Media checklist:

• Building administrator relays all factual information to superintendent and public information person.

• Establish a media information center away from the affected area. Consider:

◦ Media need timely and accurate information. However, protect the privacy of staff and students when necessary and justified.

◦ Media will want to be close enough to shoot video footage and photographs, but they should not be allowed to hinder responders.

• Before holding a news conference, brief the participants and coordinate information.

◦ Determine the message you want to convey. Create key messages for target audiences: parents, students, and the community.

◦ Emphasize the safety of students and staff.

◦ Engage media to help distribute important public information. Explain how the emergency is being handled.

◦ Respect privacy of victims and families of victims. Do not release names to media.

• Update media regularly. DO NOT say “No comment.” Ask other agencies to assist with media.

• Maintain log of all telephone inquiries for future use.


• Assess the situation to determine the need for post-crisis interventions for staff, students, and families.

• Provide post-crisis briefings for staff, students, and families as appropriate.

• Re-establish school and classroom routine as quickly as possible.

• Consider interventions:

◦ Defusing – Provide defusing sessions for students and staff as quickly as possible after the emergency.

Defusings are brief conversations with individuals or small groups held soon after an incident to help people better understand and cope with the effects of the incident. Defusing should be conducted by trained individuals.

◦ Debriefing – Conduct critical-incident stress debriefing (CISD) three to four days after the emergency.

CISD is a formal group discussion designed to help people understand their reactions to the stress of an event and to give referral information. It must be modified for student’s development level. CISD should only be conducted by trained professionals.

◦ Counseling – Provide grief counseling.

• Provide on-going support as necessary for staff, students and families.

◦ Monitor and support staff.

◦ Provide ongoing opportunities for children to talk about their fears and concerns. They may have more questions as time passes.

◦ Identify and monitor at-risk students.

◦ Provide individual crisis or grief counseling, if necessary.

◦ Conduct outreach to homes.

◦ Provide follow-up referral for assessment and treatment, if necessary.

The district should identify a 24-hour contact person or agency responsible for post-crisis assessment and interventions.

In the event of a tragic, highly publicized event, mental health professionals from federal, state and non-government agencies may respond to offer post-crisis aid. Effective coordination is critical. Consult with the Minnesota Department of Education for support, advice and assistance in coordinating the activities of outside entities.


Build the school’s emergency response team with people who can perform the functions identified below. Backup personnel should be assigned to each function, and key personnel should be cross-trained in critical requirements of the functions. Staff members who are not responsible for students should fill as many of the functions as possible. Depending on the emergency, one person may be able to perform multiple assignments.

See next page for descriptions of emergency response team functions.

FunctionStaff AssignedBackup Staff
Incident Commander (person in charge)  
Public Information  
Operations Chief
(attach list of qualified first–aid/CPR responders in building)
Site Security/ Facility Check  
Student Release Coordinator  
Logistics Chief  
Planning Chief  
Financial/ Recordkeeping  
These functions mirror the National Incident Management System (NIMS) used by emergency responders.


The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is intended for use by all state and federal agencies when responding to emergencies. The system provides integrated and coordinated management guidelines for all types of disasters and emergencies.

Most functions necessary for emergency response in the community are also necessary for emergencies within the schools. Incident management functions below are described in the context of a school setting.

Incident Commander (person in charge)Activates school’s emergency response plan; assesses the threat; orders protective measures such as lockdown, evacuation or shelter-in-place; notifies district authorities and provides situation updates; requests resources.
SafetyResponsible for safety and security of the site; stops operations if conditions become unsafe.
Public InformationMay be designated site spokesperson; cooperates with the district and other agencies on joint news releases; coordinates media briefings as necessary.
LiaisonContact person for outside agencies; may represent school/district at city emergency operations center or at emergency responders’ on-scene command post.
Operations ChiefDirects actions, i.e., lockdown, evacuation, site security, release of students to parents/guardians, first aid or medical care, cleanup, control of utilities.
MedicalProvides for first aid or other medical care; coordinates with emergency medical services personnel as necessary; activates school’s first aid/CPR responders.
Site Security/Facility CheckResponsible for seeing that the school building and grounds are visually inspected and secured.
Student Release CoordinatorResponsible for implementing school’s plan for release of students to parents/guardians from relocation site; takes necessary documents to relocation site.
Logistics ChiefEstimates logistical needs; gets personnel, facilities (relocation sites), services, and materials to support operations.
CommunicationsResponsible for emergency communications systems and equipment; may act as lead or hub for internal communications response.
TransportationResponsible for arranging transportation for emergency relocations and early dismissal of school; keeps current contact list of transportation providers.
Planning ChiefAssists in assessing emergencies; establishes priorities, identifies issues and prepares an action plan with incident commander.
Financial/RecordkeepingManages financial aspects of an emergency; compiles record of expenditures; tracks injuries and lost or damaged property; coordinates with district for insurance; initiates business recovery efforts.




Dispatch Center:

(for local police, fire and emergency medical services)

Public Utilities

Electricity: Company

Contact person

24-hour emergency number(s)

Gas: Company

Contact person

24-hour emergency number(s)

Water: Company

Contact person

24-hour emergency number(s)

Emergency Management Agencies

Local emergency management director:



County emergency management director:




Hazardous Materials: Report hazardous materials leaks or spills to Minnesota Duty Officer

24-hour numbers Statewide (800) 422-0798 Metro area (651) 649-5451

Poison Control Center

Crime Victim Services

Post-Crisis Intervention/Mental Health Hotline

[Note: These procedures are provided as a sample and a starting place for your schools to begin planning for a situation like a pandemic. A pandemic policy is not legally required.]

Highly Contagious Serious Illness or Pandemic Flu

  • The school district may provide information on the proper methods for hand washing, covering coughs, and social distancing. Reminders of these methods may be placed throughout the school district’s buildings.
  • Children and staff should be asked to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. All classroom surfaces should be disinfected according to guidance from health officials.
  • If a case of highly contagious serious illness is suspected, the sick student, employee, or visitor should be immediately sent home. If that is not possible, the person should be isolated, as much as possible, until arrangements can be made for the person to leave the school.
  • If a serious illness is confirmed, the local health agency should be notified and communication efforts initiated. See Emergency Phone Numbers and Media Procedures.
  • In the absence of a school closure order from a state agency, the superintendent, in consultation with the school board, will determine when to close school due to significant risk of spreading the illness. See Early School Closure Procedures, Part III.F., especially if school is closed before the end of a school day.
  • If an extended school closure is ordered, the school district may make online learning or other at home learning options available to the extent feasible.
  • Any closed school buildings should be disinfected according to guidance from health officials before reopening.