Branstad, Reynolds, Iowa HSEMD Share Guidance for Developing School Safety Readiness Plan
Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds were joined today at a press conference by Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) Administrator Mark Schouten to share guidance for developing a school safety readiness plan in wake of the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
“The thoughts and prayers of all Iowans are with the families and friends of the innocent victims of this senseless tragedy,” said Branstad. “While it is difficult to understand such an evil act, we do know our children and grandchildren remain our most precious gifts and ensuring their safety in our communities is absolutely critical.”
Earlier this year, Iowa HSEMD put in place a new school safety guide to assist schools in making plans and establishing procedures to make their facilities, students and staff safer. This guide covers a variety of emergencies, including how to respond to an intruder with a gun who enters their school intending to do harm.
“Schools serve as society’s pathway to upward mobility and growth,” said Reynolds. “It is our responsibility to keep students, teachers and school administrators safe. We applaud all those whose quick action saved children, including those teachers and school administrators and staff who acted as first responders and preformed heroic deeds.”
The school safety-planning guide covers a number of threating events and helps schools plan how to respond. The planning guide was prepared by HSEMD in conjunction with the following:
- The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence Fusion Center
- Iowa Department of Education
- School Administrators of Iowa
- The Iowa Association of School Boards
- The Iowa State Education Association
- Heartland Area Education Agency
- State of Iowa Fire Marshal’s Office
- Des Moines Police, School Resource Officers
“The State of Iowa through its Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked with Iowa schools over the past ten years to ensure the safety of their students,” said Iowa HSEMD Administrator Mark Schouten. “Our office oversees a program through which we work to increase the security and safety of our state’s critical infrastructure and facilities. One of the areas we have done a work in great deal of is in educational facilities.”
HSEMD has also worked closely with the Iowa Central Community College’s Homeland Security Training Center to offer active shooter classes to law enforcement and other first responders for the past three years. The training center has taught some 41,000 first responders through their active shooter and other classes over the past nine years and is currently the recipient of an HSEMD grant to continue active shooter training for smaller law enforcement agencies.
Some 500 copies of the school safety planning guide have been distributed to school administrators, school nurses, emergency management coordinators, and first responders over the last few months. Electronic versions are available at the HSEMD website: www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov or can be obtained from your local emergency management coordinator.