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Homeland Security Response Guide
Recommended Emergency Action for Schools


Definition:  A terrorist attack has occurred or credible or corroborated intelligence indicates that one is imminent.  Normally, this threat condition is declared for specific location
or critical facility.

  • Listen to the radio/television for current information and instructions
  • Be alert for suspicious activity and report it to law enforcement immediately
  • Conduct identification checks, (e.g. driver's licenses retained at the main office) and escort all visitors as deemed appropriate by local authorities.
  • Implement parking restrictions and park vehicles away from critical areas.
  • Close or limit access to schools if recommended by appropriate authorities, e.g. local law enforcement, public health, etc.
  • Consider having mental health counselors available for students, staff and faculty.


Definition:  Credible intelligence indicates that there is a high risk of a local terrorist attack but a specific target has not been identified.

  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to local law enforcement.
  • Review school emergency plans. 
  • Prepare to handle questions from anxious parents and the media.
  • Conduct identification checks of all visitors to the school (e.g. driver's license).  Escort visitors as deemed appropriate.
  • Discuss children's fears concerning possible terrorist attacks.


Definition:  Elevated risk of terrorist attack but a specific region of the United States or target has not been identified.

  • Remind students, staff and faculty to be alert and to report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.
  • Ensure all emergency supplies are stocked and ready.


Definition:  General risk with no credible threats to specific targets.


  • Be alert to suspicious activity and report it to proper authorities.
  • Conduct safety training and emergency drills in accordance with the school's emergency operations plan.
  • Have the schools emergency communications plan updated.
  • Have the plans include both evacuation and shelter and provisions for sleep, food, and sanitary needs of students and sheltered nearby residents for several days.


Definition:  Low risk of terrorism.  Routine security is implemented to preclude routine criminal threats.

  • Develop a written emergency operations plan to address all hazards. 
  • Include an emergency communications plan to maintain the safety of students, staff and faculty, as well as, an emergency communications plan to notify parents in the event of an emergency.
  • Have the emergency operations plan has been filed with the local fire departments and law enforcement agencies, as well as, the county EMA Office.
  • Assess which personnel have been trained in first aid/CPR.
  • Have first aid kits stocked.


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