Incident Response Team (IRT)

As a result of, and after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, the President of the United States directed the Department of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense to design and implement a National Incident Management System (NIMS) to improve preparation, response, and prevention of a similar attack or an equally devastating disaster. This new system would improve communications between private and public entities in their efforts to respond to a crisis.

NIMS provides a set of national standards that ensures federal, state, tribal and local government as well as private and nongovernmental organizations work together effectively in an emergency. NIMS creates coordination in preparing for, prevention of, responding to and recovery from an incident

A component of NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS defines the operating characteristics, management, structure components incident management, and emergency response characteristics of organizations throughout the entire span of an emergency situation.

The City of Aurora has implemented NIMS and ICS to align with the national model. Aurora Public Schools works closely with the City of Aurora in order to be prepared in the event of an emergency in our community.

Aurora Public Schools has also implemented the NIMS and ICS model in our plans district wide. APS updated and communicated emergency plans that incorporate the four phases of crisis planning (Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery), and align with the National Incident Management System and State and local Homeland Security.

Aligning with the Incident Command System, APS has an Incident Response Team. The Incident Response Team (IRT) is responsible for working directly with schools and other district sites to address potential or real security incidents. The IRT is composed of a Core Team and an Expanded Team. Each IRT team member is assigned a set of duties related to bringing each security incident to a safe resolution. The IRT Core Team meets quarterly to prepare, review and discuss security procedures within in our district.

Assignments of the CORE Incident Response Team Command Staff are as follows:

  • Incident Commander: Obtains information on incidents from all available sources, and develops and communicates an action plan. Responsibilities also include: proclaiming termination of the incident, instructing on recovery; conducting after action report.
  • Operations Liaison: Reports to crisis site and works with Aurora Police and Fire Departments to evaluate situation. Determine if other district sites should go into lockdown or evacuation. Communicates and updates Incident Commander. Verifies all students are accounted for and oversees the reunification site.
  • Legal Director: Provides legal advice to the Incident Commander, Superintendant, and Board of Education. Provides legal advice on preservation of evidence, and ensures the protection of attorney-client privileges.
  • School Liaison: Establishes contact with school administration and other agencies and assists operations liaison. Evaluates the need to change other district activities as a result of the incident.
  • Logistics Director: Opens district Emergency Operations Center, and sets up phones, computers, etc. Acts as the designate scribe during the events. Allocates money spent during the crisis, and sets up a debriefing within 72 hours of the incident.
  • Public Information Officer (PIO): The Public Information Officer is the official spokesperson for the district and is responsible for communicating with the media and preparing statements for dissemination to the public. Ensure public announcements and other public information is translated into other languages as needed. Monitoring news broadcasts about the incident and correcting misinformation.
  • Secondary Principal Representative: Responsible for secondary site communication and input.
  • Elementary Principal Representative: Responsible for elementary site communication and input.

Expanded Incident Response Team members include:

  • Transportation Services
  • Information Technology
  • Public Works/Engineering
  • Public Health
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Energy/Operations Director
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Long Term Community Recovery
  • Instructional Expert
  • GIS Expert

The Core and Expanded IRT Teams participate in one Functional Drill and one Tabletop Exercise per year in conjunction with the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Fire Department, City of Aurora and Buckley Air Force Base Emergency Response Teams. Members will also receive text alerts should a crisis arise within our district.