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Convene your school's emergency response team

The emergency response team first looks after the immediate safety needs of staff and students. Then they must meet to develop and act on the school’s postvention plan.

Your role as site leader

As site leader, you are at the centre of your school’s emergency response team. You:

  • are responsible for actions taken
  • are responsible for reducing the risk of potential psychological injury to staff
  • must make sure records are documented and kept.

Your team’s role

You and your team must make sure all staff:

  • are aware of the team’s role 
  • know what the team are doing – the logistics. 

Everyone involved should know who they need to speak to about what.

Some of your staff or students might be working or learning remotely. Think about their specific needs.

Include a mental health professional on the team

  • Ask a relevant mental health or CAMHS representative to be part of your school’s emergency response team. Email CAMHSResources [at] sa.gov.au
  • This helps negotiations between your school and mental health professionals about levels of support.

What your school’s emergency response team does

Liaises with family

  • Contacts the family.
  • Confirms cultural factors. For example if the student is Aboriginal - whether their name can be used, and what needs to happen at the site.

Liaises with schools

  • Contacts any school where siblings and close friends attend.

Liaises with other professionals

  • Liaises with sector support staff.
  • If the student is Aboriginal, talks to an Aboriginal education worker. Finds out about any connections and supports.
  • Liaises with mental health professionals. Tries to make sure the professionals are culturally appropriate. 
  • Contacts the police if needed, or a community constable, if available.

Manages communication

  • Prepares written information to share with students, staff, parents and carers. Consults with sector office.
  • Talks to school staff to identify vulnerable students, staff and close friends. Follows up with personal contact.
  • Manages all incoming and outgoing information. For example, sympathy cards and newspaper notices.
  • Keeps a check on social media.
  • Manages media contact through sector office.
    Note: Independent schools do not have a media contact in their sector office.
  • Documents all actions.

Protects the location and belongings

  • Protects the student’s belongings – secures student’s locker.
  • Makes appropriate changes if the student’s death happened on the school grounds.

How often to meet

Generally, the team meets every day for the first week. Afterwards it is as needed.

How long to keep meeting

After a traumatic death many actions are coordinated in a very short time. Unlike other kinds of emergencies, how you respond to a traumatic death will need to continue for many months.

Actions can continue for 2 years or more.

Everyone in your school’s emergency response team can access these guidelines. If there any issues viewing online, you can ask for a more accessible format.