Schools and disasters: Examining the evidence for K-12 settings across the emergency management phases


  • Natasha Malmin, MPH
  • Ann-Margaret Esnard, PhD
  • Christopher Wyczalkowski, PhD
  • Betty Lai, PhD



emergency management phases, school, children, hazards, disasters


Disasters may have profound impacts on children and schools. We reviewed the evidence on schools and disasters, and analyzed these impacts across the four main emergency management (EM) phases. We reviewed 190 abstracts from 60 journals published between 2000 and 2019, using the definitions of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery from the National Research Council. Over 48 percent of articles fell within two or more phases, particularly when they addressed popular topics such as disaster risk reduction. School safety and mitigation efforts, curriculum development and awareness training around disaster risk reduction, and the importance of cross-sector collaborations and partnerships emerged as common themes, identifying opportunities for research and practice in the process. A natural next step could be the creation of a centralized online databank for schools and administrators who need access to resources such as survey and evaluation instruments, risk/threat assessment methodologies, cultural competency training modules, and other tool kits. Use of the EM phases increases the ability to exchange ideas and actionable approaches to EM research and policy practice for school-aged children.


Author Biographies

Natasha Malmin, MPH

Department of Public Management and Policy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Ann-Margaret Esnard, PhD

Department of Public Management and Policy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Christopher Wyczalkowski, PhD

Department of Public Management and Policy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Betty Lai, PhD

Department of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts


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How to Cite

Malmin, MPH, N., A.-M. Esnard, PhD, C. Wyczalkowski, PhD, and B. Lai, PhD. “Schools and Disasters: Examining the Evidence for K-12 Settings across the Emergency Management Phases”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 19, no. 4, July 2021, pp. 327-3, doi:10.5055/jem.0501.