SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 92
Returning to Normal
Recovery is the process that an organization works through to return to normal operations after a traumatic incident. It will not “just happen.” Most are not aware that the last shot fired at Columbine was a year after the first shots.(see The Last Shot Fires)
Recovery requires just as much planning and preparation as does any other phase of Crisis Management (Emergency Operations). In the national model for Emergency Response Planning there are seven distinct phases.
* Recovery is Phase VII.
* The basic elements of Recovery Planning are:
Identify Recovery Team Members in advance of a traumatic event and train them.
Develop specific Crisis/Emergency Recovery Policies and staff them with team for work ability and acceptance by the community.
Develop linkages with outside agencies including state and federal agencies and cataloged for reference.
In selecting Recovery Team Members, Districts must be diligent to select staff members who can be expected to respond calmly and professionally during an emergency and who are most likely to follow procedures without undue deviation. At the same time, Recovery Team Members should possess the ability to adapt as situations change. Ideally, the school team leaders/trainers will be chosen first and trained, then they will select the members of their respective teams and participate in the their training. This will insure team cohesion and goal focus during a crisis.
Policies concerning Recovery are best developed and staffed long before any crisis or emergency comes. A number of schools, lacking such polices, have made decisions during the aftermath of a crisis/emergency that were immediately regretted. These decision were based on emotions at the moment rather than thought out and staffed. A common example is using school facilities for a memorial or funeral service, then finding that students and staff are daily brought back to the trauma every time they use those facilities.
Any emergency or crisis at a school is likely to overwhelm the resources available in-house. This is true of the initial Recovery phase as well. It is important to develop links with all possible sources of help. They will not all work out. Not all will be useful in every situation but it is essential that the Recovery Team has all such linkage information available for rapid response.
Always remember that Recovery starts before an Emergency happens. It starts with proactive planning. The Recovery Team starts to work plan while the Emergency is still in progress. And finally, Recovery takes as long as it takes. But, it must be worked and guided rather than allowed to just happen.
For help with your District’s Recovery Plan contact Keys today!
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