With the new school year almost here, the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency brought school districts countywide together to discuss school safety and best crisis response practices.
Representatives from 12 school districts participated in the annual McHenry County School Summit Aug. 4 at McHenry County College. The annual summit, which began in 2017, unites school officials with law enforcement and other first responders to ensure that school districts are aware of changes to safety laws and, more importantly, are made aware of the many federal state resources available to them.
School districts are required under state law to develop disaster response plans for each individual school and review them annually. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency identifies 30 types of disasters that could potentially threaten citizens. While school safety has focused significantly on the threat of mass shootings and other on-site violence, school emergency plans must also cover other threats, such as fire, severe weather, hazardous material releases and long-term power outages.
Also participating in the School Summit were representatives from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Lake County Emergency Management Agency.