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La Educación
Número: (115) II
Año: 1993


Much has been written regarding the effects of natural and man-made disasters on individuals, organizations, and society at large. The negative consequences of disasters—on human lives, property, and the environment—are monumental and rapidly escalating (Quarantelli 1985). Furthermore, the “costs” in terms of disrupted and damaged lives are beyond calculation (Drabek and Hoetmer 1991; Raphael 1986).

The “good news” is that much of the damage of disasters can be avoided or minimized through effective mitigation and preparation. The “bad news” is that school officials have been either reluctant to prepare for their own emergencies, or have been excluded from their communities’ emergency planning efforts. These two obstacles must be breached to allow effective emergency planning at both the school and the community level.

This article addresses emergency preparedness within the context of schools—kindergartens to high schools, technical institutions, colleges, and universities. It analyzes that context and provides three key categories (or levels) for emergency preparedness in schools. The article also provides school administrators with a number of key tips so that they can better prepare for and respond to disasters in their schools.