Organization Launches Online Guide For School Safety

As schools officials nationwide revamp their emergency response systems and update safety preparedness, the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN) recently launched its new School Crisis Guide: Help and Healing in a Time of Crisis.

The online guide provides action steps, tips and resources to help educators prepare for emergencies; respond competently during a crisis; and assist students, staff and families in recovering after a crisis. The new, comprehensive guide focuses on school safety, provides advice on handling both man-made and natural disasters, and includes a section on violence prevention.

"While schools are among the safest places for children, crises like Columbine, 9/11, Katrina and Virginia Tech taught us our nation's students are not immune from tragedy or suffering," said NEA President Reg Weaver. "This guide is a comprehensive blueprint of best practices in crisis preparedness and response. Although we all wish the School Crisis Guide would rarely have to be used, today's world demands school employees be prepared for the unexpected."

NEA is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million education professionals. NEA HIN provides health information to education employees and the 43 million-plus students they serve.

"Knowing what to do can be the difference between stability and upheaval," said Jerry Newberry, executive director of NEA HIN. "The new step-by-step guide was created by educators for educators, making it easier for educators to keep schools safe and focus on what they do best: help children learn."

The free, online guide is available at www.neahin.org/schoolcrisis. It provides up-to-date information and tools wherever and whenever they're needed. It's easy to navigate, so users have immediate access to the information they need, whether planning for a crisis or in the midst of handling one. The guide features tools, tip sheets and links to Web-based resources for all aspects of crisis management, from planning to response to recovery.

The guide also provides comprehensive information about media relations during a crisis, such as how to develop communications protocols with the media to ensure that the needs of both the media and the school are being met. The guide offers tips for working with the media during and after the crisis, including how to handle the first anniversary of a crisis. Tools include sample press releases, frequently asked questions, media interview request forms and school fact sheets.

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