Trust and verify! Are students and staff at your school as safe as they can be?
As students, staff, and parents we want to trust our School Board when they tell us that safety is their number one priority. Here is a simple question regarding a federal safety mandate that will help you verify this commitment.
Does your school district have a FEMA approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP)?
What is an LHMP?
Approved LHMP’s are developed by district stake-holders and experts following a process provided (at no cost) by FEMA. The planning process includes the critical examination of local dangers and the district’s ability to respond to those dangers. The final “plan,” a set of precautions and response procedures, is submitted to FEMA for approval. Plans must be updated, following the same process, every three years.
Federal law requires school districts to have a FEMA approved LHMP’s in order to receive both pre-disaster and post disaster funding. If your district does not have an approved LHMP there are really only two reasons.
It is by choice. Your School Board has decided that the comprehensive planning process designed by experts to protect students and staff is not necessary. Additionally, a decision has been made that the district does not, and will not, need state or federal funding before or after a disaster, leaving those costs to the tax payers.
It is due to ignorance. Your School Board is not aware of this requirement and has not provided direction to staff to assure an approved LHMP is in place and regularly updated.
With constant reminders of “acts of man” and “acts of nature” campus disasters, this is a good time to ask to see your districts approved LHMP. It should be as easy as visiting your district’s website or asking to see a copy of the approved plan. These are public documents and you have every right to know they exist.
Please make sure you see the districts approved plan, you may be directed to your City or County plan. Remember, federal law requires the district (with very few exceptions) to have their own unique and approved plan.