Catastrophic Events (Threat to Life on Campus)

Emergency ChecklistOverview:
This workshop provides the outline of the four phases of recovery from a catastrophic event in the school setting, such as a death on campus, an attack such as 9/11, a school shooting, or a natural disaster.

Common errors become evident and tips for organizing in ways that help meet the needs of students, staff and parents helps minimize the likelihood of lawsuits.

This content begins the moment the last student has been accounted for or reunited with family, and continues through the next five years.  Major focus is on the first month, but a trauma-informed schools has to continue interventions over time for optimal recovery.


  1. Participants will learn a “map” for recovery as the basis for school and community planning
  2. Participants will grasp the dynamics each of four phases of recovery
  3. Each participant group will anticipate special challenges for their respective roles
  4. Various groups will examine the skills and resources they can bring over time
  5. Each locale will refine plans for mobilizing resources for a collaborative long-term inter-agency recovery plan

Collaborative planning ahead of time enables a more dynamic and effective response

Intended audience:
School Only Model:  Central Office administrators, building administrators, school resource officers, heads of transportation, food service, grounds and maintenance, Flight Team (School Crisis Response Team) Members, Rapid Response Team Members, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, nurses and others.

School/Community Model:  The above plus agencies/departments of the community including the local hospital emergency management staff, representative from law enforcement, mayor’s office, city/county emergency management, local children’s mental health, clergy and business club representation.  This comprehensive model starts where most emergency planning ends!

Four phases of catastrophic events and recovery:

  • actions to take from the moment the last student is accounted for and all alive are reunited with family until the first day back at school
  • the first week back at school
  • continuing through the first year-mark (anniversary)
  • long-term recovery (through five years)

All of the crisis response team (Flight Team) training is very helpful but not required.  Experience in responding to the more usual school tragedies (i.e., death of a student over the weekend) is extremely helpful.


Catastrophic Events Resource Manual ($ 55, one for each participant).

Handout provided.


In Crisis Now?