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OSPI to Create Plan to Lessen Risks of Natural Disasters

OLYMPIA — December 17, 2012 — How Washington school facilities handle natural hazards is the subject of a large-scale project currently underway.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in partnership with 35 school districts across the state, received a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Planning Grant in March 2012 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The two-year, $1.1 million grant will help the state identify risks and develop a statewide mitigation plan from natural disasters.

“Our chief concern is to protect everyone – students, faculty and buildings,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “The FEMA grant will help us identify our needs. Obviously, no one wants a natural disaster to hit our state, but if one does, we need to be ready.”

Work since the grant was announced has been focused on planning Web site creation and an understanding of the scope of the work. For example, scientists have identified nine natural disasters that can and do occur in Washington:

  1. Drought
  2. Earthquake
  3. Flood
  4. Forest fire
  5. Landslide
  6. Snow
  7. Tsunami
  8. Volcano
  9. Wind storm

Recent work includes the launch of a brief online survey that will capture perceptions and preferences from parents, teachers, school boards, state organizations, superintendents and the general public.

The survey, titled Increase Life Safety Before Disaster Strikes, is available through April 1, 2013 and should take less than five minutes to complete. The feedback received from the survey will assist OSPI with development of the draft mitigation plan. Results of the survey will be available on the OSPI Pre-Disaster Mitigation web page late spring 2013.

More help for the mitigation plan will come from public meetings, which will be held around the state in 2013. And when a draft of the plan has been created, OSPI will release it to the public for comments. OSPI plans to have the statewide plan finished by October 2014.

To learn more about the OSPI hazard mitigation planning process, please visit our website at


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 4/23/2013

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  360-725-6000  TTY 360-664-3631
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