Images by Rick Rainer, 2007

Crisis Management


On March 1, 2007, the last thing on Rick Rainer’s mind was that a devastating EF-4 tornado would rip through his school in Enterprise, Alabama and leave 8 students fatally injured and hundreds hospitalized. It was a crisis of mammoth proportion and one that he will never forget. He lived and learned through one of the worst school disasters in American History. Today, Rick Rainer has retired as principal of Auburn High School in Auburn, Alabama but also spends time helping other school principals and safety officials prepare for the unexpected. His powerful message is designed to provoke thought and prompt action for school leader’s to plan and prepare for unexpected disasters at their school and community.


Rick Rainer, Former Principal, Enterprise High School, Enterprise, Alabama

Who should take this course?

Anyone who is responsible for the safety and welfare of individuals should have a plan for a Disaster or Crisis. The course raises your awareness of what is involved in protecting lives of students or employees. Rick offer step by step plans to develop a Crisis Management plan for your facility, institution or organization.

Topics included in this program:
  • Developing a Crisis Team: the most important element and first step in Crisis Management. The course discusses how to select, equip and train a Crisis Team.
  • First Responders & Communications: who first responders are, what they do and the importance of building relationships with the responders. The also looks at the critical aspect of effective communication during a crisis event, evacuation and reunification.
  • Leadership Structure: establishing a leadership structure, the designation of duties and responsibilities of the staff members. The course examines a couple of formats for structuring a leadership team that have been created by the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Dealing with Media: the very challenging aspect of crisis management - the impact of media coverage. How important it is to have this piece in your plan prior to a crisis event and how media can help and hinder an organization recovering from a crisis.
  • Evacuation & Reunification: how to establish a plan, select location, and identify necessary personnel. The course offers very specific tips and suggestions for the processes.
  • Recovery: what is recovery and how can an organization recover from a disaster or crisis? This course examines what recovery is and necessity of trained professionals and counseling. Rick shares from personal experience what recovery can look like.

Auburn University Office of Professional & Continuing Education offers three different ways to participate in this Crisis Management Course:

  • "An Unimaginable Disaster": Rick Rainer, Principal of Enterprise High School, travels around the country delivering this presentation to educators and safety officials. This video provides an excellent overview of Crisis Management and outlines what you need to do in this hour long presentation. This course is a video of Rick Rainer’s actual presentation.

  • Video Series: Rick sits down with you in this series of videos to describe the process of developing a Crisis Management Plan for your facility, institution or organization. The course also includes the video presentation "An Unimaginable Disaster".

  • Certificate Course: This course combines all the videos with activities and assignments to walk you through the process of actually developing a Crisis Management Plan. You are also able to discuss your questions and concerns with him.

Last Updated: February 15, 2017