An online preparedness guide and consulting for school leaders.

Starting a School Emergency Team

“From that day on, half my people worked on the wall. The other half  was ready with spears, shields, bows and armor.  The officers stood in back of the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and carried a weapon in the other. Each builder wore his sword at his side as he worked. The man who blew the trumpet to warn the people stayed next to me." Nehemiah 4:16-18

The School Emergency Team (SET)

Having the right leadership in place is vital for the success of any endeavor. The same holds true to the development as a ReadySchool. Christian Emergency Network (CEN) has found that a team approach is the most effective. We call this team the School Emergency Team (SET). The SET is made up of nine roles that work together to provide the infrastructure for the ReadySchool development process as well as the leadership for further response teams within the School. Formulated after the Incident Command Structure (ICS) used by emergency responders, CEN has added in the role of Prayer Officer, Share Officer and Care Officer to meet the spiritual, emotional and mental needs of the community in crisis. By now, your School understands the importance of upholding a strong Biblical Readiness Standard and is preparing to develop your School Emergency Team Leadership. You will need to ensure any SET candidates have themselves completed the ReadyChristian training in order to ensure they are ready themselves to lead others. The following questions will be addressed in the next section and/or chapters:

  • What is expected of a ReadySchool leader?

  • What are the nine roles of the School Emergency Team?

  • What are the School Emergency Team’s roles and responsibilities?

  • How do I select a School Emergency Team?

School Emergency Team (SET) Overview

In a time of great vulnerability and openness, how would hurting people respond to the Christian who is ready to meet their needs and show them the way to God? What impact would this have? How would faith in action support the Word of God preached from the pulpit?

About 90% of people in crisis will ask: Where is God in this? 

(Per 2001 survey published in New England Journal of Medicine)

Consider that figure.

With an overwhelming number of people asking about God during a crisis:

  • Where should the School be spending its outreach and evangelism energy?   

  • How does the School minister and help those in crisis?

Have you encountered a person or family member who is facing a serious emergency like the loss of their job, loss of a home through a natural disaster, news of brain cancer, or the death of a child? All these are emergencies that are very painful to those experiencing them. Christians are needed to pray, care and share Christ with the hurting appropriately. These are the jobs of the School Emergency Team in a ReadySchool.

The School Emergency Team (SET) leads the School to effectively pray for, care for and sensitively share the love of Christ with people in emergencies. These “emergencies” do not just refer to natural disasters, but also to daily disasters that happen in our communities, including the safety and security needs of our congregation. Disasters include divorce, first-time crime, job loss, violence, as well as man- made disasters. The School is commanded and uniquely positioned to respond to the heart cry of His children.

Many schools have a lot of experience in preparing for events. They plan an event around a holiday, an outreach objective, the regular school day, or a field trip. But what happens if something unexpected happens? The things needed to prepare for an event are the same things needed to respond to a crisis. The only difference is that a crisis happens without being scheduled. CEN has found that the roles used in developing a School Emergency Team can also be used in planning for events, effectively increasing the capacity of the School in times of disaster while strengthening the team dynamics for events.

School Emergency Team (SET) Roles

The nine roles that constitute a School Emergency Team are:

  1. Administration - Responsible for the leadership of the SET within a Christian organization, recruiting and training volunteers for activation, and for accomplishing the mission of the ReadySchool. Depending on the nature of an emergency or incident the Administration role may also assume the role of the Incident Commander. Each incident will need to be assessed for the role that best fits the response needed. For example, a security incident would necessitate that the Safety and Security Officer (SSO) assume the role of the Incident Commander. 
  2. Operations - Responsible for developing and maintaining the School Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and ensuring support systems are in place for the implementation of an EOP.
  3. Public Information Officer (PIO) - Responsible for communicating both internally and externally for the SET.
  4. Logistics - Responsible for acquiring the human and material resources needed to accomplish the EOP, maintaining relationships within the broader Christian and School community in order to connect them to the services of the members of the SET and others in their community, and connecting nationally with the Christian Emergency Network for supportive mutual aid.
  5. Prayer - Responsible for developing prayer networks within the School and working with the PIO to develop and communicate prayer prompts during crises
  6. Care – Responsible for developing the emergency related compassionate care activities of the EOP and helping to connect with the Share Leader for transformational opportunities.
  7. Share – Responsible for developing the outreach related activities of the EOP.
  8. Finance – Responsible for ensuring funding and initiative alignment, models and leads in transformational giving and ensures all accounts are current.
  9. Safety and Security – Responsible for assessing risks, mitigating risks, practicing drills, establishing security protocols, and conducting the training of the security team.

*Each of these roles play a unique role in the SET.

(ReadySchool ICS Model - See Appendix B)

More detailed information about the roles can be found in the downloadable material, School Emergency Team Leadership Roles. 

NOTE: In the ReadySchool ICS Model (above), the Administrator and the School Emergency Team Leader would initiate the planning and take part in the creation and implementation of the School Emergency Plan. However, the entire School Emergency Team would/should be included in the planning as well.


Once you’ve learned the basic role descriptions and responsibilities for the different team members, complete the following tasks to build your team:

  • Write down two names for each SET leadership role.

  • Write a short letter of invitation, attach the overview, and ask for a 10-minute meeting to discuss the opportunity.

  • Describe the evangelistic outreach opportunity of the ReadySchool and the opportunity to meet the needs of people in crisis and disaster within your community.

  • Ask one person to prayerfully commit to one role and responsibility

  • Invite every School member to register online and connect to the School’s ReadySchool Response Group.

Aware · Ready · There

School Emergency Team Mission Process

The overall process that the School Emergency Team (SET) is designed to facilitate includes the following steps:

  • Assess School readiness and capacity through the School Capacity Assessment in order to meet specific needs

  • Partner with other schools and/or Schools to prepare and respond

  • Commit to meet specific needs in crisis and disaster with unique services

  • Maintain the Biblical Readiness Standard

  • Conduct the ReadySchool and ReadyChristian Campaigns to build capacity

  • Train in emergency Pray-Care-Share and safety and security

  • Plan for emergencies

  • Conduct response drills

  • Manage Emergency Pray-Care-Share Teams and stations during incidents large or small

SET Functions - Overview

The SET prepares to respond to spiritual, emotional, mental and physical emergencies. Its first responsibility is the safety and preparedness of the School it serves, and then the support of the local ReadySchool and ReadyCity.

The SET is trained to:

  • Handle the safety and security needs of the School

  • Create a Leadership Continuity/Emergency Operations Plan for the School

  • Assess School capacity and capability to serve the school and the community in crisis

  • Set up and Manage an emergency operations center in the School when needed

  • Set up and Manage emergency response procedures

  • Manage God-glorifying communication with the public during a crisis or disaster

  • Connect staff members and others in crisis to the services of the School or other Christian organizations in the area

  • Equip School to become personally prepared spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically

  • Guide volunteers to serve in emergencies and get trained

  • Train Christians to effectively pray, care and share their faith with the 90% of people in crisis who ask: Where is God in this?

  • Mobilize trained, certified and recognized volunteers capable of helping the community and responders in a crisis and disaster.

ReadySchool SET’s play a unique ministerial role in crisis and disaster response by providing:

  • Prayer Station - A prayer center where survivors can seek God’s provision and grace and receive prayer from clergy and School staff members.

  • Care Station - A program providing comfort, respite and relief, shelter, food, and services.

  • Share Station - A crisis-counseling or chaplaincy center providing emotional and spiritual guidance.

Your own School may or may not be ready to provide this level of service to the nearby community, but ask yourself these questions: 

  • What can you do? 

  • What will your emergency focus be? 

  • How will you organize to reach out to people in crisis? 

  • What is the emergency in your community right now? 

  • How prepared are you for upheaval in their lives? 

  • Will you be prepared to give an answer as to why you have Hope when they are struggling with the question, “Where is God in this?”

The trained School Emergency Team (SET) has a plan for safety and security, preparedness and response, and is ready to lead your School with intention: spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

The SET ensures personal and School support networks are in place. They have, along with your administrative staff, assessed and developed an emergency response focus for your School.

The SET will lead the School through:

Development of Leadership Continuity Plan, Emergency Operations Plan and School Safety & Security Plans which include:

  • Establishment and Training of Emergency Pray-Care-Share Teams:

Emergency Prayer Team

Emergency Care Team

Emergency Share Team

  • Response Drills School/Community

  • Community Outreach:

Emergency Pray-Care-Share Team Deployment

  • School Emergency Response Group

  • ReadyCity/ReadySchool Response Group

  • Emergency Directory Research

  • Memorial Services


SET team members can read about functions a SET performs before, during and after an emergency in Chapter 5. The section titled “School Emergency Team (SET) Example Functions Before, During and After Emergencies” The School Emergency Team (SET) recruits Biblically Ready and gifted leaders. Trusted School Emergency Team (SET) leaders are vital to the readiness of any School. In this section you will learn how to determine trusted leaders. Many gifts are needed to have a successfully mobilized SET. A copy of the Incident Command Structure (ICS) can be found in Appendix B.


Select your SET. As described in the next chapter (Chapter Four) SET Leaders need to be hand-picked by School administrative staff through a screening for leaders who are spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to respond. CEN has provided a document in Appendix C called “Profile and Responsibilities of a School Emergency Team Leader” that provides suggested characteristics for the SET Leader as well as a summary of their responsibilities. Carefully read Chapter Four as it further describes the characteristics and responsibilities of the School Emergency Team Leader.