Recent school shootings, severe weather and other emergency situations have prompted a dialogue on school safety in school communities across the country.
Student families and parents are pressing school administrators to share their current school safety plans, and work to improve security procedures and emergency preparedness guidelines.
In this day and age, school administrators must be prepared to proactively communicate about school safety. Here are 4 strategies to help emergency preparedness planning in k-12 schools:
1. Evaluate and Refine School Security Measures
Security is often equated with equipment including metal detectors and surveillance cameras. While these measures play an important role in school security, it must be viewed as a supplement to a comprehensive school safety program. Some basic emergency preparedness measures include reducing the number of open doors and having a functional school notification system.
2. Update and Exercise School Emergency Preparedness Plans
Evaluations of school emergency plans nationwide show that while schools have emergency preparedness plans on paper, many emergency preparedness plans need improvement. Gaps in emergency plans include a lack of training of school staff and a lack of exercising plans in cooperation with public safety partners.
TIP! School emergency plans should address emergency preparedness procedures such as lockdowns, evacuations, and emergency communications protocols with parents.
3. Strengthen Partnerships with Public Safety Officials
School administrators should meet regularly with public safety partners including police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency management agencies. Police are strongly encouraged to train and practice the rapid response to active shooter techniques. Schools should also provide police and fire departments with updated floor plans.
4. Create Engaged Crisis Communication Plans
During an emergency situation schools need to have open communication with parents, students and staff in order to minimize miscommunication and rumors. Having an effective communication plan is vital. Most schools utilize an automated school notification system within their emergency response plans. This allows the school to notify parents of the situation via their preferred communication method of text, email or voice. >> Example <<
Looking for more tips and tricks? Download our Emergency Preparedness Guide today!