Do we have to let the Red Cross use our schools for shelters?

California Health & Safety Code previously required that school districts allow the use of their facilities to the Red Cross in the event of a disaster, but this section of code was removed, so it is no longer a requirement.  To see an old printed version of the text of the law, look in the reference section of the 1999 Edition of the California Science Safety Handbook.

The requirement moved to the Education Code Section 32282(a)(B)(ii), which is the code for Comprehensive School Safety Plans, but the requirement became relaxed.  It is no longer a blanket requirement that school districts must submit to without any consideration.  The subsection (a)(B)(ii) allows for school districts to put procedures in place to allow for the Red Cross to use their facilities, but with some limitations.  School districts can now put some terms in the agreement between itself and the Red Cross.

On a side note, the big issue to look out for in the Red Cross agreement is the phrase “reasonable expenses”; school districts should change the phrase to “actual expenses” to protect their entire outlay of funding.

   (ii) Establishing a procedure to allow a public agency, including
the American Red Cross, to use school buildings, grounds, and
equipment for mass care and welfare shelters during disasters or
other emergencies affecting the public health and welfare. The
district or county office shall cooperate with the public agency in
furnishing and maintaining the services as the district or county
office may deem necessary to meet the needs of the community.

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