K-PREP: Getting Prepared Together
Initially the K-PREP program focused on organizing and preparing our schools to respond to a major disaster in the county. A standardized plan was developed throughout Kitsap County’s school districts, arranging them into response teams called The Circle of Eight, now the Circle of Nine.
By organizing our neighborhoods into a similar response team structure and teaching our citizens how to be prepared, we indirectly strengthen our school program by adding additional resources and support to the schools that reside in those neighborhoods. In 1994 the third prong of K-PREP was launched into the business community and government offices. Businesses everywhere have now started to prepare.
With each disaster or incident that schools have faced there has been one obvious lesson learned; police departments, fire agencies, schools and emergency management need to be able to work together when an unusual event happens on a school campus.
To create a more efficient working relationship with first response agencies, the Circle of Nine program has been modified to more closely resemble the National Incident Management System, also known as NIMS.
NIMS is an organizational framework designed to manage any event, small to large. It is a system that has been used for Wildland Fire management by responding agencies for many years. Other federal, state, and local organizations, by federal mandate, are moving to NIMS in an effort to create seamless transition and cooperation when help does arrive.
The K-PREP program offers an outstanding opportunity to improve emergency response and preparedness, clarify responsibilities and create or enhance relationships between schools, police and fire departments, emergency management and the community.