Arizona law mandates that all schools have an emergency response plan in place. Keeping the emergency response plan current is an essential part of school planning.  The law provides for the minimum requirements allowed, however, schools may create a more comprehensive plan to better meet their needs and protect students and faculty.

Emergency Response Plan Requirements

The Arizona Department of Education, along with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, developed the statutory minimum standards for emergency response plans for Arizona schools. The plan details are complex, and those making or revising plans must review the official documents to ensure compliance.  The sections of the law are:

  • National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Emergency Response Plan (ERP)
  • Plan Development and Maintenance

Each section contains specific directives and requirements.  Various parts of the plan must be tested on a regular basis. For example, a site blueprint with evacuation routes must be provided. Test drills must be performed using the evacuation routes.

Developing the Emergency Response Plan

There are a number of resources available to administrators for the development of an emergency response plan. Once a plan is in place, it should be updated at least yearly. The administrator responsible for the plan should review the most recent guidelines and updates to ensure compliance. The resources available include:

  • Emergency Response Template
  • Technical Assistance Center
  • NIMs Implementation Guidelines and Checklist
  • Comprehensive Preparedness Guide
  • Toolkit
  • Online Information Addressing Specific Areas of Concern
  • Drill Exercises and Guidelines

Additional resources and information are available online. There are templates available for various plan types.

Additional Training

Emergency response preparedness is something that needs to be taken very seriously. Schools are responsible for the protection and well-being of children while they are under their care.  Employees responsible for the emergency response plan are required by law to complete three FEMA online independent study courses.  School emergency teams are able to attend on-site FEMA training seminars and emergency training through the county. The Arizona Department of Education offers emergency preparedness regional workshops. Additionally, new Ebola guidance resources are available as part of the infectious disease update for educators.

Those who are responsible for emergency preparedness for their schools must stay abreast of the latest information and requirements. The plan must be updated to make sure that it remains effective.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Keeping the Emergency Response Plan Current, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact 480.461.5300,  log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.