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Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higer Education

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Our nation’s postsecondary institutions are entrusted to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff who live, work, and study on campus. Faced with emergencies ranging from active shooter situations to fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemic influenza, this is no easy task. Many of these emergencies occur with little to no warning; therefore, it is critical for institutions of higher education (IHEs) to plan ahead to help ensure the safety and general welfare of all members of the campus community. IHEs face unique challenges in planning for potential emergencies in terms of geography, environment, governance, and the population served. Colleges and universities, including community colleges and technical colleges, are large, small, urban, rural, residential, transient, two-year, four-year, public, and private, and often operate around-the-clock. IHE campuses often span large geographic areas, and many have additional locations in other cities, states, or countries. Many IHEs operate complex enterprises in addition to their academic programs, including hospitals, research and development facilities, performing arts venues, athletic complexes, agricultural centers, residential complexes, and transportation systems. They frequently have open campuses that are integrated into the surrounding community, with visitors regularly on campus touring facilities, attending events, and receiving medical care.


FEMA Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education