Posted on May 19, 2003
WASHINGTON — On the tail of Tennessee's storms and flooding, U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has created a new crisis planning guide and grant program for schools to use in developing a crisis plan for emergencies, including natural disasters, violent incidents and terrorist acts. School districts are encouraged to download the guide and apply for the $38 million that is being allocated to school districts nationwide. "You can never be too prepared for a natural disaster or emergency, and I applaud the Department of Education for making this new guide and funding available to schools to help develop an emergency response plan," said Frist. "We've seen over the past few weeks that disaster can hit — whether it is tornadoes or flooding — at any time, and we must be prepared to quickly react and respond. I urge Tennessee school districts to consider using the guide in schools and applying for this grant funding to better ensure our children's safety in the wake of a disaster." "Senator Frist and I encourage schools in Tennessee to apply for these grants," Alexander said. "The Department of Education is providing vital resources to educators so they will be better equipped to respond to emergencies. We must do all we can to keep our children safe." School districts now can apply for $38 million in grants to help them improve and strengthen their emergency response and crisis management plans. These funds for the Emergency Response and Crisis Management Grant Program could be used to train school personnel, parents, and students in crisis response; coordinate with local emergency responders including fire fighters and police officers; purchase equipment; and coordinate with groups and organizations responsible for recovery issues, such as health and mental health agencies. A guide, "Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities," is available online and will provide schools, districts and communities with key concepts and components of good crisis planning. The guide, based on research conducted by experts in school crisis planning, lists four areas of crisis management, including mitigation-prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The department expects to award about 150 grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each. The deadline for applications is June 30. Additional information can be accessed online at www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html. Both Frist and Alexander are members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is the first stop for educational legislation.