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Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.

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Appendix C. Interview Questions for Principals


How many students are in the school?

How many staff?

How many students have mobility difficulty?

Do you have wheelchairs?  How many?

Are there students with other disabilities that would warrant special attention in an evacuation of the building?

Physical Plant

How many buildings are there?

Describe the school the layout—how many floors, sections, etc.?

How many exits are there?


What is your evacuation plan?

Where are the offsite locations?

Are members of the crisis team assigned to the various evacuation sites?

Is there a person who has first aid skill at each relocation site?

How would medications be distributed to the sites?

Have you had an evacuation drill with staff and/or with students?

Are parents aware of the plan?

Sheltering In

Do you have a plan for sheltering in?

Are there any rooms large enough to shelter in all students and staff?

On what floor is the cafeteria? Gym?  Auditorium? Library?

Have you practiced sheltering in with staff and/or with students?

Are there enough rooms with windows/doors that can be locked in order to effectively conduct a school lockdown?

What sort of ventilation system is in the building?

Crisis Team

Do you have a crisis team?

How many members?

Who are they?

Do they have explicit responsibilities?

How often do you meet?

How do you communicate with one another? Radio? Telephones?

Have you had any practice drills?

To what kinds of crises have you had to respond?

Would you like more training?

Is there someone designated to communicate with the media?

School Nurse

How are student medications organized?

If the building had to be evacuated, how would the medications be distributed?

How often do you record the daily log on the computer?

Parent Communication

Are parents aware of your emergency plan?

How have you communicated about that?

In an emergency, how do you communicate with parents?

How would you communicate with parents if there were a schoolwide emergency?

Do you have cell phone numbers for parents?

Do you think it would be feasible to have out-of-town emergency contact numbers for students?

How do you feel about students using cell phones in an emergency?

Is there a procedure for releasing students to authorized adults?

Staff Preparation

Do your staff have easy access to your emergency plan?

What do your staff have to take with them if they had to evacuate the building?

What are substitute teachers told about your emergency plan?

Town Support

Is there a school liaison safety officer?

Do you know how the town would respond if there were an emergency at your school?

Do you have access to counseling services?

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