4 Tips for Better School Safety
Educators play a significant part in the lives of our children, and as time has progressed, we’ve seen educators’ responsibility to both teach our children and keep them safe grow increasingly challenging. Below, you’ll find four major tips to help you evaluate your school’s safety and implement changes to improve your campus.
Tip 1: Evaluate Building Safety
Are the entry points to your school secured and monitored? The entry points of your school are what either keeps certain dangers out of your school or provides them with a way in. Regularly reviewing all of the possible points of entry into your school is essential to your school’s safety.
A huge part of building safety is controlling who has access in and out of your school. It is critical that you know who can access each building, room, or area of your school and that only the right people have the access they need. Emergency communication systems (ECS), like Alertus, allow you to integrate your access control systems, life safety, fire systems, building automation, and camera systems with your ECS to provide you with situational awareness to streamline and monitor all building functions.
Does your school have adequate shelter in the event of an emergency? Make sure your students know when and where to go for shelter, including the safety strategies associated with the hazard, such as evacuate, seal the room, or go to high ground. Students should also be familiar with all evacuation points.
Tip 2: Establish Emergency Response Procedures & Communication
Does your school have the appropriate messaging and response procedures for a severe weather event, fire, bomb threat, intruder, etc.? Just a few years ago the only drills performed in many school were fire drills, now schools need to be prepared to address a variety of emergencies quickly and effectively. As such, it is important that you have preset messages and verbiage ready to go that both describes the emergency and how students, staff, and faculty should respond. Preset messages significantly cut down on your emergency response time.
What tools does your school have in place to disseminate emergency information in a quick and effective manner? Utilizing an ECS is the best way to make sure you can issue an emergency alert to the right people at the right time. They put the power to manage and activate all of your alerting devices in a single, easy to use application. This allows you to focus more on responding to the emergency and less on alerting everyone.
Roles & Responsibilities:
Does your school have someone actively reviewing and updating communication plans and procedures? You’re serious about your school safety, so chances are you’re running drills regularly. Every drill you run or emergency that occurs is a time for learning and adaptation within your school. Your emergency management personnel should take this time to review and update all of the necessary plans and policies.
Tip 3: Analyze Information Delivery
Information Monitoring & Management:
Does your school have someone designated to monitor security systems like building access (doors, windows, parking lots, key controls), building systems (HVAC, power cameras), and ECS? Do multiple people understand the system and how to issue an alert? Not only do these systems need monitoring, but emergency personnel also need to be ready to react to any emergency with the right communication. To ensure that there is always someone available to send emergency communications, make sure multiple staff members are trained in your ECS or alert delivery method.
Does your ECS have a way of alerting and involving local law enforcement? Do you have methods of quickly sending information to parents that don’t hinder your ability to react to the emergency? Some ECS have a way of notifying local law enforcement as part of the alert dissemination. This can be a critical component of your school’s emergency response. It is also important that your school is able to get information to parents when needed and do so without impeding your ability to address the emergencies at hand.
Tip 4: Practice
Are your students as equally prepared for a fire drill as they are for an active shooter or severe weather? Running drills for multiple scenarios improves your students’ response and preparedness for any emergency that occurs. It is also helpful to create unexpected situations during a drill. For example, blocking a major exit during a drill will force students to look for multiple exit points and be ready to adapt to a real-life situation.
Involving Local Law Enforcement:
Did you know that local law enforcement is typically able and willing to help with tabletop drills and exercises? Involving law enforcement with your drills and emergency planning can ensure that your school not only understands the best ways to react and respond to emergencies, but also the role of law enforcement and how to best prepare the situation for them to take over.
Want to learn more about emergency mass notification and how other schools are using Alertus to improve their school safety? Click here to view our customer case studies. Ready to get started and see how the Alertus System can help improve your emergency communication? Schedule a hassle-free demo today!