Delaware comprehensive school safety plans are a consistent all hazards, best practices approach to emergency response plans. The plans are managed by The Comprehensive School Safety Program (CSSP) under The Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS/The Department), and The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA). Because school faculty and personnel are on-site, and are considered our "true first responders" in a school emergency they are provided a plan template that is to provide a response framework in the event of an emergency. The plans are designed to support many functions before, during, and after an emergency encompassing all phases of emergency management.
Omnibus School Safety Act
The Comprehensive School Safety Program stems from the Omnibus School Safety Act enacted by Governor Jack Markell:
• The purpose of the Omnibus School Safety Act is to enhance public safety in all of Delaware's public schools (including charter schools) and school districts through the development and maintenance of comprehensive, site-specific, National Incident Management System (NIMS)-compliant safety and emergency preparedness plans. This act is intended to promote a cohesive and coordinated approach between state and local emergency responders, education professionals, and other supporting agencies and disciplines during a critical incident within a school setting, in a manner that minimizes administrative and other burdens upon schools and districts.
The Omnibus School Safety Act requires the following:
responsibilities of The Department:
The Department, by and through the Secretary, shall have overall operational responsibility for the implementation of the act. In connection therewith, the Department's duties and responsibilities shall include but not be limited to:
(1) Serving as the lead agency in the development of CSSPs (Comprehensive School Safety Plans) for each school and district;
(2) Assisting schools and districts in conducting critical incident and tabletop exercises;
(3) Adopting, publishing and updating Emergency Preparedness Guidelines;
(4) Reviewing and certifying CSSPs submitted by schools and districts;
(5) In consultation with the Department of Education, adopting such rules and regulations as shall be necessary or desirable to implement the provisions of the act;
(6) Reviewing proposed revisions and updates to CSSPs
Duties and responsibilities of schools and districts:
(1) Create a
school safety team for each school and district;
(2) Collaborate with the Department (Delaware Emergency Management, DEMA) and any relevant first responders to develop and submit to the Department a school - or district - specific CSSP;
(3) Conduct critical incident and tabletop exercises in accordance with subsection (f) of the Omnibus School Safety Act (conduct at least 1 tabletop exercise every year, and at least 2 lockdown/intruder drills per school year) and;
(4) Collaborate with the Department and any relevant first responders in submitting revisions and updates to CSSPs, at such times and upon such circumstances as shall be warranted
Comprehensive School Safety Program Overview
The comprehensive school safety plans contain vulnerability assessments, risk management, mitigation, response, and recovery information. All valuable for responding to a critical incident.
The Delaware Comprehensive School Safety program (CSSP) also provides information and education as well as best practices responses to a number of potential emergency events.
Web-based plans and online education:
CSSP has contracted with SafePlans for a web based
Emergency Response Information Portal (ERIP), houses
the Delaware Comprehensive School Safety plans, and
online education courses. The web based platform
serves as the repository for all CSSPs statewide.
This portal allows school officials and first
responder’s secured access to the information as
needed. DSHS provides ERIP training to all public
and charter schools, and assists with plan
revisions, additional training needs, and ensuring
Omnibus compliance for plans, drills, and
to Schools and First Responders:
The CSSP provides continuous outreach and training to our schools, first responders: dispatch centers, fire, police, and medical community. Such training includes online, and face to face courses such as, but not limited to
· Active assailant response training
· Stop the bleed
· National Incident Management System
· Vulnerability assessments
· Table-top exercises, and drill training
· De-escalation techniques
Information sharing and implementation of new practices:
The CSSP disseminates a magnitude of information to all schools to ensure valuable information is shared. Such information is shared via a quarterly newsletter and, regular emails that includes items such as available grant monies available to schools, applicable training and resource materials, and current articles pertaining to school safety.
· Furthermore, the CSSP program is also instrumental in the implementation of new practices such as RAVEPanic Button, which is a mobile emergency notification application.
School Districts Compliance Goal:
One of the annual goals of the Comprehensive School Safety program is to ensure all schools have met their annual requirement under the Omnibus School Safety Act of two intruder/active shooter drills, and one table-top exercise. An initiative of this magnitude has required strong relationships between all stakeholders, and is a collaborative effort. Establishing a rapport with and among all of schools, and first responders to include police, fire officials, and emergency medical personnel is imperative for the success.
“School Safety is a continuous, ever changing concept. It is everyone’s responsibility to become and remain educated to the concept, rehearse best practices, develop relationships and rapports with those that share the same mission, and never become complacent to the end goal; keeping our children and each other safe…”
(CSSP, personal communication, June, 2019)
Nicole Shuler-Geer: Nicole.Shuler@delaware.gov
Douglas Scheer: Douglas.Scheer@delaware.gov