Firestorm School Preparedness Benefits for AMS Member Schools

Predict. Plan. Perform.

The idea pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori that an environment should be designed to facilitate the independent learning of children must extend to and include the preparedness of the entire school—creating an oasis of safety for the children, teachers, employees, and the extended school family.

Every child has the right to enjoy a safe school experience. Every parent has the right to expect their school to be well-prepared and to offer the safest possible environment. Every employee has the right to a safe and secure workplace. AMS and Firestorm developed a program to provide member schools with the knowledge, expertise, and assistance needed to be better prepared and to create an environment that meets these needs for their students, teachers, and employees.

There are many threats to which every school is vulnerable and the process of developing a prepared school culture begins with having an understanding of “what can go wrong and how to respond.” We have seen schools devastated by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornados; human threats like sexual abuse, kidnapping, cyber-bullying, and identity theft; and most recently—the biological threat of Covid-19. While school shootings are an extremely low probability event, they have extreme impacts and therefore must also be planned for.

Once you understand the threats to which your school and its stakeholders are vulnerable, plans can be designed to prevent and mitigate the impacts of those threats. Plans are needed to address emergency response; crisis management and communications; security; school and workplace violence; communicable illness; and student reunification.

There is no single solution to making a school and the people in it safer. All roads lead back to “preparedness,” which means understanding potential threats and vulnerabilities, designing plans to prevent or mitigate threats, and then training people through drill and exercise to know what to do when an adverse event or a disaster strikes.

Member Benefits

Complimentary AMS Sponsored Benefits

School Preparedness Self-Assessment

Every school should assess its level of preparedness on a regular basis. This new benchmarking strategy combines functions, operations, performance, processes, and strategy to provide schools with a better understanding of preparedness as a continuous improvement journey. The analysis results in the identification of specific enhancements for: leadership requirements, decision processes, command and control operations, emergency response, procedures, streamlined communication techniques, and facility/equipment upgrades.

Get started at no cost to your school using your AMS sponsored complimentary benefits.

No formal Preparedness program in place?

Start with the Firestorm School Preparedness Self-Assessment. One of many tools we offer to ensure you adopt a preparedness program specific to your needs—quickly, cost-effective, and in compliance with best practices and standards.

Preparedness program in place?

Verify that your program meets best practices and standards. Discover the gaps in your plans before issues occur. The Firestorm School Preparedness Self-Assessment can diagnose strengths and weaknesses in your plan and recommend the most cost-effective measures to ensure your school has a culture of preparedness.

The Firestorm School Preparedness Self-Assessment:

  • Offers a diagnostic tool that provides an in-depth valuation of your organization’s preparedness
  • Measures current performance levels
  • Assesses your preparedness against a model School Preparedness program
  • Identifies the most cost-effective improvements
  • Establishes a baseline
  • Sets up process improvement metrics to ensure the best possible return on the resources invested in preparedness

The Self-Assessment is completed in one 60-minute interview. Firestorm then produces a detailed analysis and report of the results and benchmarks, and presents the findings to you and your team. Firestorm has extensive experience in preparing schools and their leadership for disasters and crises as well as assisting in the crisis management response. Knowing the threats you and your students face enables you to manage the impacts and respond effectively.

Crisis STOP for Schools

Crisis STOP for Schools is a complimentary 24/7, one hour service that Firestorm provides to AMS member schools. During a crisis, seconds count. Actions and words matter.

Organizations often feel an overwhelming compulsion to act and speak. Very often, these initial inclinations are wrong, and result in additional exposure and liability. Firestorm can help. By providing the first hour of consultative support at no cost, the barrier of making the call as early as possible is lowered, due to the elimination of an immediate financial commitment.

Crisis STOP for Schools provides the services necessary to:

  • Stabilize the situation
  • Trigger appropriate resources
  • Opine on the exposures
  • Prevent common crisis errors

This initial, complimentary Crisis STOP for Schools consultation slows the process; controls panic; identifies the immediate concerns; provides direction, and lays the foundation for consequence management. More importantly Crisis STOP for Schools will prevent many common mistakes, thereby reducing frequency, severity, brand, and reputation damage.

Through Crisis STOP for Schools, you will have access to an experienced Firestorm Crisis Coach, who has managed real crises. This early intervention will prevent many common crisis errors and can significantly improve outcomes. You are under no obligation to continue Firestorm services after the initial one-hour consultation.

The Firestorm Crisis STOP for Schools hotline (833) 519-4357 can be called at any time. Recent crises that Firestorm has handled include:

  • active shooter
  • abuse
  • bullying
  • child pornography
  • cyber bullying and cyber stalking
  • drug/alcohol abuse
  • fire
  • hazing
  • health issue/communicable illness
  • high-profile student
  • inappropriate staff-student relationships
  • kidnapping
  • loss of facility/fire/flood/tornado
  • missing child
  • non-custodial parent
  • sexting
  • sexual abuse
  • sexual harassment
  • severe weather
  • social media attacks
  • social media risk-brand/reputation
  • suicide
  • terrorism
  • transportation accident
  • violence
  • water/food contamination
  • workplace violence; domestic violence
  • wild animal

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Low Cost AMS Sponsored Member Benefits

CRISIS COACH

We all face risks and vulnerabilities. Not every risk can be eliminated. While some risks can be mitigated, disasters and crises will happen. Establishing a clear crisis management plan with identified leadership positions and defined triggers for actions, empowers people to act immediately. Having predetermined roles, responsibilities, and response actions will help crisis managers protect your operations and brand. The middle of a crisis is not the time to start trying to figure who the players are and what your game plan is.

Mapping the right route to any destination requires some mission-critical facts: Starting point. Distance. Best and alternate routes. Without this information, the map is unlikely to guide you or your organization to the right outcome in an efficient manner.

Where Do You Start? – The Firestorm CRISIS COACH

Firestorm has managed numerous crises in public and private companies, schools, and government organizations. The Firestorm senior leadership lessons learned are based upon decades of crisis and consequence management experience in managing crisis outcomes successfully.

The Firestorm CRISIS COACH Program helps empower you to make decisions you need to make before, during, and after a crisis. The Firestorm CRISIS COACH Program provides an opportunity to discover and plan for what you need to do in a crisis. In this program, you will interact with first responders, other organizations, and businesses; understand the impacts of disasters and crises; develop your business continuity plans; learn about emerging threats and risks; participate in a crisis management training; simulation exercises; and receive answers to your questions.

CRISIS COACH Program

  • Act as a CRISIS COACH for a period of 12 months
  • Dedicate three (3) preparedness improvement consulting hours per month to work with your staff
  • Provide all required Firestorm methodology, templates, and guidance
  • Preparedness improvement includes:
    1. Crisis Management and Response Plan
    2. Crisis Communication Strategy
    3. Design and Implementation of a Crisis Management Training Program
    4. Testing and Exercising of Plans

Critical Incident Response Training and Exercise

An essential component of security and emergency preparedness is training staff on how to more effectively respond to a critical incident. The goal of Critical Incident Response Training is to enhance coordination, communication, and proficiency among response staff. Firestorm recognizes that an emergency plan is useful before and after an emergency. However, the most important thing that will affect the outcome of an emergency or critical incident is training.

Firestorm has established a multi-hazard training program to better prepare those charged with leading the response to respond effectively during emergencies. Training provided by Firestorm includes discussions of the four main response options during emergencies—evacuation, shelter-in-place, lockout, and lockdown. It includes an interactive discussion on common physiological responses that occur during emergencies, as well as strategies to combat the potentially debilitating impact of those responses.

The training is typically 3 hours in length and also covers a broad range of targeted violence hazards, including a violent intruder, bomb threats/suspicious packages, insider violence, child abduction, custody-related confrontations, hostage situations, relocation, and reunification. The training also includes hands-on instruction on strategies for the prevention of targeted violence.

Disaster Ready People for A Disaster Ready America

Firestorm founders Harry Rhulen, Suzy Loughlin, and Jim Satterfield wrote Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America specifically to address the need for disaster preparedness at home, and the book has become a cornerstone of many personal and corporate preparedness programs. “Remember, you are your own first responder,” the book reminds readers as it guides them through a comprehensive program of readiness.

This book is designed to help individuals and families create a home disaster plan. We’ve evaluated the numerous exposures and situations of various disaster scenarios, including the looming pandemic threat, and developed this guide to assist you.

Contact Firestorm for a complimentary e-copy.

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