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  • What Happens When Schools Lack Competent Emergency Action Plans?

    What Happens When Schools Lack Competent Emergency Action Plans?

On the heels of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting and bungling campus police, we wanted to discuss some other emergencies that can arise at schools. An emergency action plan (EAP) isn’t just about mass shootings. An emergency plan should always be the first line of defense when a crisis hits a school or any other educational institution.

For example, when a fire breaks out, the teachers already understand what to do and how to ensure that the students evacuate in an orderly manner before assembling in the school’s parking lot. When schools are negligent, you can call government lawsuit attorneys. But by reading this, you can get proactive and educate educators to keep your kids safe while on campus.

Sports and Injuries?

Unfortunately, not all schools are well-equipped to deal with emergencies, and some don’t even provide sufficient training to the teachers. For example, a child receiving injuries sees their health further deteriorate in a sports contest arranged by school personnel due to missing emergency medical services.

Having emergency response plans followed by all school personnel, including high school athletic coaches, is essential in ensuring the safety of the students. An insufficient plan can create grounds for liability in the event of any injuries or death.

Most schools do not have a sports emergency plan, which is highly important as most of the injuries at school occur during sports-related activities. Ehline Law and our United States personal injury attorneys have sued school districts for failing to keep their students safe and can help you pursue legal action against a school district.

Injuries During an Emergency and While Playing on the Field

When a school lacks an emergency plan, injuries can occur during an emergency evacuation or while playing on the field. Some of the injuries a student may sustain during an emergency evacuation could include concussions, broken bones, cuts, and bruises.

Besides emergency evacuations, while on the field, student athletes are at risk of injuries that include:

  • Head injuries
  • Heatstroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Asthma
  • Fatalities
  • And more.

Emergency Planning for Secondary School Athletics / High School Athletic Coaches

The National Athletic Trainers Association has published a detailed emergency response plan for schools to follow for athletes. With such guidelines available, one would normally assume that the schools are following them. However, this is not the case.

A research study conducted in January 2020 explored the determinants influencing emergency preparedness for students and sports-related emergency preparedness for athletics. The study involved a national sample of athletic trainers (who took part in the Athletic Training Locations and Services project) and directors who participated in questionnaire research that the Education Foundation partially funded.

The results of SS EAP adoption or secondary school emergency action plan adoption suggest a lack of knowledge and limited financial resources in the poor implementation of emergency plans. The findings also suggested that emergency plans were more prevalent in suburban schools with larger enrollments. The Connecticut Institutional Review Board approved the study.

Many other studies have been done in the past, including sports-related emergency preparedness in Oregon high schools and emergency plans for sudden cardiac events in North Carolina high schools and Vermont high schools, where the findings suggest that many schools did not have any emergency plans, and for those that did, there was significant room for improvement.

The lack of education and state leaders’ policies have led to barriers to implementing emergency plans in secondary schools, especially in school districts with student-athletes. Overall, EAP policy adoption is rather slow across the United States.

What Is a Sports Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

With the lack of an emergency plan unveiled and inadequate school personnel training in the United States, what should be an adequate sports emergency action plan?

School personnel must conduct the following to develop an adequate EAP for athletes:

  • On-site medical care or develop their emergency plan according to emergency medical services (EMS).
  • Every venue or event should have an emergency plan with maps and directions to follow.
  • Regularly check for on-site emergency equipment, including fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
  • Provide contact information for EMS.
  • Provide instructions on how to document injuries.
  • Make sure there is a plan for transporting injured students to medical facilities.
  • Inform relevant parties about the personnel responsible for providing medical care.

These are just some of the crucial points of an EAP, and schools must review the action plan once a year to update it if necessary. The school should also provide annual training to the coaching staff for administering first aid and CPR.

Holding the High School Personnel Responsible

You may be able to hold the school responsible for any injuries to your child, especially if the school did not take any adequate safety measures. Due to the immunity, they have, schools are able to avoid lawsuits. However, negligence laws in California can hold them accountable for any damage due to negligence.

Failing to develop an EAP is a breach of a school’s duty of care toward its students, and parents can pursue legal action if they have evidence of such negligence. Contact us at (213) 596-9642 for a free consultation if your child has received injuries at school.


Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of the largest motorcycle accident settlements in U.S. History. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves in being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride, and a a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.

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