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Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS)

By: Jeffrey Cusack
| Last updated: March 20, 2021

What Does Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Mean?

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) is a grant program and technical assistance center (TA Center) operated by the United States federal government. The purpose of the REMS TA Center and grant program is to provide resources, training and expertise to schools. The goal of The Center is to enable schools throughout the United States to be better prepared to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a wide variety of emergencies.

The REMS TA Center serves a complete range of school types, including public, nonpublic, and private K-12 schools, community colleges, technical schools, universities, and a variety of education agencies. All REMS grants are administered by the REMS TA Center. In addition to its emergency focus, the REMS TA Center also provides information on preventing adult sexual misconduct in schools, also known as child predation.

Safeopedia Explains Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS)

REMS TA Center guidance and instructional materials approach school emergencies from a whole community perspective. It provides school-specific information to various emergency-relevant community partners, including: law enforcement, fire department, public safety, emergency medical services, health and mental/behavioral health agencies, as well as select NGOs.

Types of emergency that the REMS TA Center provides information on include, but are not limited to:

  • Active Shooter Situations
  • Fires
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Floods
  • Pandemics

The REMS TA Center does not offer professional certification programs, and does not provide accreditation to anyone who attends REMS training sessions or who participates in any other activities. Individuals may; however, receive certificates of attendance to demonstrate that they have attended a REMS training session.

The REMS TA Center is a program of the US Department of Education, and is operated by Synergy Enterprises Inc, a private contractor. Because the REMS program is operated by a third-party on-behalf of the Department of Education, its stances and approach to school safety may not reflect the official policy positions or views of the Department of Education.

The REMS TA Center’s products and services are offered free of charge to all relevant stakeholders. These services include technical assistance from the Center, access to community forums, online webinars, and online courses. Products include a variety of information documents and toolkits as well as specialized guidance on accommodating individuals with disabilities and other special needs. These tools and services can be accessed on demand or by appointment via the REMS TA Center website.

In addition to accessing these general services, the REMS TA Center also provides on-site training options. Education institutions and other community partners must apply to receive this training on a per-case basis, and must be able to ensure that a minimum number of attendees are available to participate in the training. REMS training for educators include:

  • Earthquake Preparedness
  • School Behavioral Threat Assessment
  • Developing Emergency Operation Plans
  • Techniques for Self-Care and Peer Support
  • Addressing and Preventing Adult Sexual Misconduct
  • Developing Emergency Operations Plans
  • Conducting site risk assessments

The Center also offers certain training programs for school districts that want to gain the capacity to train multiple groups in key aspects of emergency management.

The grant program offered by REMS TA is administered on a four year basis to state-level education agencies. Grantees, such as school districts, receive funding for programs that are to be implemented over a two year period. The grants are not specific to a specific aspect of emergency management, and are to be used to improve abilities across all aspects of emergency prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery.

Grant funds may be used to create resources such as district level emergency plans, school-specific crisis response plans and kits, training staff and personnel in how to develop emergency response procedures, developing and implementing emergency response plans, and developing plans for continuous improvement. The REMS TA Center provides assistance in grant administration but does not administer the projects that grants are used to facilitate.

In addition to the above activities, REMS TA also partners with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to operate the PrepareAthon campaign to increase emergency readiness throughout the United States, and with FEMA and the U.S. Geological Survey to operate “The Great Shake” emergency earthquake preparedness drills in schools. PrepareAthon events are held annually in September.

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