The most important role of any school community is the need to create a safe environment for learning. To ensure the safety of everyone on campus, NIS has put in place an Emergency Preparedness process that includes key members who serve on the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and an Incident Command System (ICS) to effectively manage any incidents that may occur.
The unpredictable nature of certain critical incidents, whether nature disasters, medical in nature, or due to actions taken by individuals, each highlight the need for staff to be prepared with a range of possible appropriate responses. The initial response to critical incidents should be coordinated and effective. Preparation for an such incidents requires training and drills which are conducted regularly throughout the year. For example, the school conducts semi-annual whole-school responses for earthquakes, fires, and lockdowns.
Some of the training also involves parents, but all parents need to be aware of these matters so it is published in the Parent-Student Handbook. We suggest keeping a copy for quick reference after taking the time to review the overall framework of Emergency Preparedness at NIS. We hope that some of these procedures will assist families to consider Emergency Preparedness within your own homes.
An overview of the roles and responsibilities of our Crisis Management Team (CMT) and our Incident Command System (ICS), are below.
Crisis Management Team (CMT)
To ensure the safety of students and school personnel during a crisis or critical incident, the administration relies on the Emergency Preparedness of school personnel and everyone else on campus. To provide for this readiness, the Crisis Management Team (CMT) is an important part of our Emergency Preparedness process. These members serve under the Health and Safety Committee to providing relevant information and to ensure that the infrastructure is in place for all members of the school community.
The members of the CMT are a selection of individuals who are able to provide for the infrastructure needed for planning and preparedness is in place. For example, the CMT reviews policies and procedures to ensure equipment is updated and maintained, to provide training and exercises, and to review actions taken after each incident occurs.
Keeping everyone on safe in the NIS community involves more than just managing emergency incidents. To help provide for this important task, the school has the Health & Safety Committee in place. The membership of this group consists of a wide variety of school personnel who have the knowledge and responsibilities for handling day to day operations at school. In addition to key school personel, additional members are invited to participate based on specific issues that may arise during the course of the school year. In the past, or example, the guidance counselor, plant manager or custodian, health personnel, office staff, teachers, as well as parents and an administrative or board representative have participated to ensure the issues considers a wide range of perspectives.
Together, these bodies help to ensure that various aspects of crisis planning, training, preparedness, support, and follow-up are accomplished throughout the school year.
Finally, we recognize that any member of the greater community may be in a position to identify subtle changes in student behavior, to recognize external community factors, or to identify concerns that may affect the school. Should you every become aware of any such concenrs, please consider informing an administrator or a staff member with your concern. Once changes or events have been identified, the school can address it immediately or take further action. This may include arranging counseling for a student, scheduling a community or staff meeting, or in other ways proactively addressing the needs of the school community.
Incident Command System (ICS)
The Incident Command System (ICS) is an organizational structure used by Emergency Services around the world to respond to any critical incident and to coordinate with professional Emergency Services. The ICS utilizes a team approach to effectively deal with situations when real-time decision-making is critical.
Implementation of the ICS during an incident allows school personnel to deal with specific areas of responsibility and know who to turn to for further assistance throughout the various phases of any crisis involving the school community.
In this way, tasks needed to handle critical incidents are delegated to specific members in leadership positions of the ICS who are responsible for a certain scope of the overall school response. This delegation limits the number of functions under any one coordinator, allowing each person to primarily focus on just one aspect of the incident. These coordinators also provide information to Command (Head of School or designate) and help that person make informed decisions. Using this type of organizational system during a critical incident creates clear communication channels that helpcordinate and deal effectively with critical incidents.
The ICS assigns specific areas of responsibility to selected teams which allow members of the school community to familiarize themselves with these roles in the crisis management training. Therefore, contingency plans are made, guidelines are in place, and training is conducted in preparation for responding to an various incidents. This level of preparedness is essential for during with a critical incident and is a key component to our school being properly prepared.
The ICS is also the key to flexibility in dealing with a wide range of possibilities that need to be planned for and managed. To assure coverage at all times, training for the management of critical roles in the ICS is provided to key personnel, as well as a few designates. This training allows individuals to efficiently assume other responsibilities if the primary coordinator is unavailable.