School Emergency Response

Schools in North Yorkshire differ considerably in size. The School Emergency Response Guide will help you to respond to an incident. Where advice covers a number of different roles, the school should consider their size and their own available resources.

It should also be borne in mind that each incident is different in character. Consequently the contents of this document should be used as a prompt to assist your thinking process, and not necessarily as a step by step guide.

The document has been designed so you can pull out and photocopy sheets as necessary. It is intended as a reference document and additional or updated sections will be available online as appropriate.

The document supersedes the School Incident Response Guide 2011 and earlier editions.

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Purpose of the School Emergency Response Guide

It is possible that any school could face a challenging situation at any time. This document is aimed at serious situations which may:

  • Threaten the safety of children, staff or the school premises
  • Affect the community within which the school is based
  • Affect the running of the school
  • Affect the public reputation of the school.

This guide is separated into three parts:

Part One - Framework for Action

This provides a series of generic checklists and advice for use by the School Emergency Management Team (SEMT). It will help guide the thinking process when responding to an emergency:

  • In the school
  • In connection with an event in the local community which impacts on the school
  • At an activity off site

It covers procedures for an incident occurring both in and out of school time.

Part Two - Planning Ahead and Useful Information

This section contains appendices for you to consider and complete before an incident. This will enable you to respond more effectively. It contains information to point you in the direction of help and, in the case of Business Continuity Planning, will help you to keep the school open.

Part Three - Incident Specific Information

This contains a number of sections which are aimed at providing you with specific advice to inform decisions you may have to make in connection with unexpected situations or prompt you to instill procedures which would assist you at such a time.

These sections together provide procedures and information from which to develop your own plan to meet your school's specific needs. It should be considered by the Headteacher, their nominated deputy, the School Emergency Management Team (SEMT) and Chair of Governors, in advance of any incident happening to help guard your school from the effects of the unexpected.

What Help is Available from the County Council in the Event of an Emergency?

Remember, if an emergency does occur, you are not alone. There is a wide variety of support available from the County Council and its partners.

Children and Young People's Service:

  • Co-ordination of assistance throughout the Local Authority and liaison as necessary with emergency services
  • School transport
  • Administrative support
  • Welfare services/emotional support
  • Additional temporary accommodation
  • Health and safety advice
  • Media advice
  • Exercise influence on your behalf with utility companies
  • Operational/logistical support
  • Educational psychologist
  • Counselling support for staff and pupils
  • Guidance on how to speak with people who have been affected by the incident

Emergency Planning Staff:

  • Operational/logistical support
  • Emergency Planning support
  • Co-ordination between responding agencies including emergency services
  • Advice on how multi-agency major incidents are conducted and thus ensure correct contacts are made
  • Communications support
  • Debriefing
  • Activation of specific emergency plans if required
  • Arrange for food and refreshment if school is being used as a rest centre
  • Stocks of clothing and equipment

Health & Safety

  • Provide advice and support on all areas of Health & Safety
  • Asbestos advice

Property Service

  • Response to buildings emergencies
  • asbestos advice
  • Legionella and water hygiene

Communications Staff (press office)

  • Press statements
  • Advice and assistance with media management

Legal Staff:

  • Legal advice

Occupational Health Staff:

  • Advice and support on health issues
  • Counselling service for staff

Major Incident Response Team (MIRT)

  • Emotional support to staff and parents. MIRT are not counsellors but each member is trained in critical incident de-briefing and practical and emotional techniques to assist people to make sense of exceptional events.

Insurance & Risk Management

  • Insurance and insurance claims advice
  • Handling of subsequent claims covered by insurance

Other Agencies


  • Overall co-ordination of the emergency response (depending on emergency)
  • Media relations (Police media will lead if a major Incident is declared)
  • Contact with bereaved families
  • Criminal investigation
  • Security of site including preservation of crime scene if appropriate

Fire and Rescue Service

  • Fire fighting
  • Life saving and rescue
  • Chemical spillage clean-up

Ambulance Service

  • Emergency medical response
  • Transportation of casualties to hospitals


  • Access to other health services
  • Infection control advice

Trade Unions

  • Information resource & support services for members
  • Health & safety responsibilities (consultation, investigation and joint inspection)
  • Will be informed by health & safety staff of incidents causing/threatening injury