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October 5, 2016

TEMA, Department of Education Working to Prepare Public Schools for Disasters and Emergencies

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is partnering with the Tennessee Department Education to make an emergency preparedness resource available to more than 1,700 public schools in the state.

“Public school administrators and educators are too often on the front lines of protecting students and dealing with unexpected emergencies,” TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan said. “We want to help Tennessee’s school systems to be prepared for possible man-made or natural threats.”

Beginning this month, TEMA’s regional staff in west, middle, and east Tennessee will work with local emergency management agencies and local school districts to distribute an Emergency Action Guide for State of Tennessee Employees.

Basic information is included in the guide on actions individuals can take to protect themselves and others for a number of hazards and threats, including severe weather, bomb threats, fires, suspicious substances, earthquakes, and active shooters.

The guide includes practical information on how to be prepared for certain emergencies and is presented in a tabbed format with pages for listing emergency contact information and a disaster supply checklist.

“Ensuring school safety and preparedness is foundational in order for learning to flourish in our classrooms” says Tennessee Department of Education’s Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operations Officer Kathleen Airhart. “We are grateful for our partnership with TEMA to equip public schools across Tennessee with this valuable resource for emergency preparation.”

TEMA originally produced the guide in 2015 in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Human Resources.

TEMA originally made the guide available to state employees across Tennessee as a desk reference to help them be ready for potential workplace emergencies. A recent reprint of the guide will provide enough copies so that the front office of each Tennessee public school can have 10 copies of the guide available to administrators and educators.

About the Tennessee Department of Education: The Tennessee Department of Education’s vision is that districts and schools in Tennessee will exemplify excellence and equity such that all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully embark on their chosen path in life.

About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, TNDisasterInfo, on Twitter, @T_E_M_A, and at