Emergency Readiness

The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management

Resources for the Development of Emergency Preparedness
Plans in School Foodservice
Cyndie Story, MEd, RD, CC

Local school foodservice operations are often at the center of emergency response activities, working with local, state, and federal agencies to bring relief to those in need. Today, in the wake of the September 11 and Hurricane Katrina tragedies, it's more important than ever that school foodservice operators create and implement proactive and comprehensive emergency preparedness policies and procedures. Such steps will help school nutrition professionals work with community leaders to develop effective response plans and strategies designed to protect the health and safety of its residents.

Emergency preparedness encompasses a wide range of potential incidents, including natural disasters, intentional acts of violence, food recalls, and food defense (the prevention of the intentional contamination of food, also known as "food security"). Prompt and effective response in the face of such emergencies will require a thorough plan. Without the hindsight benefits of experience in each scenario, how can school nutrition professionals ensure they have covered all the possible bases? The following resource list was developed to assist school nutrition professionals locate materials that address a variety of potential emergencies. These can be used in the development of policies and procedures unique to an individual district or school.