School-centered Emergency Management
Bridging the Gap

Jo Schweikhard Moss
Crisis Management Coordinator
Travis County School Safety Consortium

July 27, 2005

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Related Websites:
U.S. Department of Education Emergency Planning Resources
Emergency Response and Crisis Management Technical Assistance Center
FEMA Course IS-362: Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
National Clearing House for Education Facilities Disaster Preparedness

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A journalist by trade, Jo Schweikhard Moss has been an emergency manager for almost 20 years, beginning as a local coordinator in Parker County, Texas. She moved to Austin, Texas in 1992 as Public Information Officer for the Governor's Division of Emergency Management where she developed the public information annex to the state plan. She managed the public information function for dozens of disasters and coordinated award-winning public education efforts for weather preparedness, wildland fire and statewide Y2K readiness.

Jo took a respite from emergency management to work four years for the Texas Department of Agriculture as an event planner. Then in 2004, the Travis County School Safety Consortium tapped her to coordinate the area's first Emergency Response and Crisis Management grant to bring emergency preparedness into school systems.

Jo admits that as an emergency manager she, like many of her counterparts, took school districts for granted as a resource and discounted their abilities in disaster and emergency situations. Jo says that her new role lets her make amends and offers a unique perspective to share with other emergency managers. "Emergency preparedness for schools," Jo says, "is consistent with a good teaching and learning environment. It enables districts to reduce the frequency and magnitude of crisis situations and to respond efficiently and effectively when disaster strikes."

Jo has a Bachelor of Journalism degree in News-Editorial from the University of Missouri and spent more than 12 years as a newspaper and radio reporter, before moving to the emergency management arena. A photographer and antique collector in her spare time, Jo lists among her personal accomplishments, learning to drive a Model A Ford. She and husband Mark, a Fire Captain, have been married 25 years and make their home in Georgetown, Texas.