Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

Certificates in Emergency Preparedness and School Safety

Educational Institutions have a responsibility to students and staff to ensure that all possible precautions are being taken to provide a safe environment that is conducive to learning. To that end, emergency planning is critical. The basic components of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery must be addressed in the emergency plan as educational institutions develop strategies, plans, policies and procedures for campus safety and security specific to their population, location and potential threats. Natural disasters, violent crimes and other types of incidents or crisis’ should be taken into consideration by the emergency planning team when developing the emergency plan for your school.

These certificate courses were developed to raise awareness and to provide basic information to school personnel as they begin to, or continue to, build an effective emergency plan. Curriculum will include information relative to the incident management system, risk assessment, planning and threat prevention strategies, as well as how you, personally, will respond to an emergency.

The coursework includes:

Incident Management for Schools

This course will introduce those in the educational community to the concepts of incident management. The course provides an overview of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) including incident command and unified command as it applies to the educational community. The ability to understand the nuisances of who is in charge in the event of an emergency, who does what, what roles and responsibilities does the student, faculty and administrators have during and after an event. The course will also break down the facets of incident management into understandable parts as applicable to pre-event, event and post-event.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the various facets of incident management
  • Identify the various incident command positions and their role in an emergency event
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of educational personnel within the incident command system and school plans
  • Differentiate between the various command and staff position roles and responsibilities
  • Recognize the need for, and the use of, the incident command system
  • Describe how effective incident management affects emergency preparedness, response and recovery
  • Identify the pitfalls of an ineffective incident management system

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Risk Assessment for Schools

This course will introduce those in the educational and public safety community to the concepts of risk assessment. Risk assessment for schools entails identifying, analyzing and managing individuals and critical events to prevent and/or mitigate the impact. This course focuses on proactive strategies for school and public safety officials that can be part of a comprehensive school safety plan. The strategies include how to identify risk to your students, staff and campus as well as when to involve first responders and law enforcement in your assessment.

The ability to detect changing patterns of behavior by students and staff is critical to interrupting school violence. Studies have shown that pre-attack behavior often precedes any direct action on a school. By developing a systematic way of observing those behaviors, schools can act before direct threats occur. Risk assessment also includes identifying internal and external events that can cause injuries to persons and damage to property, considering the impact those events would have on a school and incorporating that knowledge into prevention, planning and response programs. This course will look to educate the students about school based threats and how to incorporate a risk assessment process into their school safety plan.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the need to incorporate risk assessment into their school plan.
  • Identify the various types of threats faced by schools
  • Identify the relationship between capability and intent when analyzing a threat
  • Identify the relationship between probability and harm when determining risk
  • Understand key concepts in conducting a hazard analysis
  • Recognize the need for, and the use of, external resources on a risk assessment team
  • Describe how an effective risk assessment team incorporates both pre-event indicators and subjective reasoning decision making

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Planning and Threat Prevention for Schools

This course is designed to provide the participant with the knowledge and skills needed to provide a safe and secure educational environment through proper crises planning and threat prevention. The attendees of this course will gain an overview of the essentials involved in planning for school violence, techniques to move beyond the "cut and paste" or "template" approach that often inhibits ownership of a plan, as well as an understanding of the importance of the collaborative relationships between those involved in the planning process. Participants will also gain an understanding of the concepts involved in preventing school violence through proper identification and response to school related threats. Programs that help reduce the chances an event will take place, as well as identifying key personnel involved in the process of violence prevention, will be discussed.

Upon successful completion the student should able to:

  • Explain the goals and objectives of a school safety plan
  • Recognize what events to plan for
  • Identify the components of a successful plan
  • Identify who should be involved in planning
  • Understand the importance of flexibility and contingencies
  • Understand the importance of integrating safety plans
  • Understand the importance rehearsing and exercising the plan
  • Discuss the types of threats associated with school violence
  • Identify actions that can be taken to decrease the likelihood an event will take place
  • Indentify partners involved in school violence prevention
  • Understand the importance of a culture and climate that best reduces the incidents of school violence
  • Understand the importance and limitations of physical security and building integrity
  • Identify and engage in methods and practices that support the prevention of school violence

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Your Role in a School Emergency

Are you prepared? Your school should have a competent crisis management plan in place and proper preventive strategies should have been implemented. But the unthinkable has happened. Your school’s emergency warning signal sounds, or worse, you actually hear gunshots. Compounding the stress is the responsibility for the safety of students in your charge. Have you taken the time to think how you would really respond to a crises situation? Will you respond in a cognitive, efficient, analytical manner, or will your emotions take over? This unique program will familiarize participants with tactics and techniques that will assist them in a rational, composed response to high stress, life or death decision making. Attendees will be exposed to strategies to help them effectively managing those school emergency situations which cannot be prevented.

Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the nature of school and workplace violence, and the individuals who perpetrate it
  • Understand the human body’s response to fear and panic
  • Employ a “survival mindset”
  • Practice techniques to reduce the effects of extreme stress on their decision making process
  • Explain the importance of personal practice and rehearsal
  • Understand the role of intuition and why school safety plans need to allow for flexibility
  • Explain survival options when it appears there are no options
  • Explain how a proper personal safety kit can save lives
  • Respond effectively when the police arrive

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