Families trust schools to keep their children safe and thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff across the nation, the majority of schools remain safe havens for our nation's youth. The unfortunate reality is, however, that schools can be touched either directly or indirectly by violence at any time. In light of today's heightened awareness and concern for school safety, administrators will want to take additional steps to improve security and emergency response.
Security and Emergency Response Considerations
A comprehensive approach to school security places a strong emphasis on prevention, using strategies that range from deterring and detecting unauthorized building access to proactively assessing threats of violence. Emergency response is that part of a school system's approach to safety which anticipates potential incidents and establishes a coordinated response.
HUB International recommends schools consider the following actions:
Conduct a Threat and Hazard Assessment
Improving security in schools begins with performing a critical assessment of the current state of your school's security. Areas reviewed should include:
- General Conditions
- Exterior Security Controls
- Interior Security Controls
- Security Hardware Maintenance
- Exterior and Interior Security Cameras
- Exterior Doors and Alarms
- Security Staffing
Click here to learn more about threat and hazard assessment.
Review your Emergency Response Plans
The chances of effectively managing a significant crisis event are increased if there are district level policies and individual school plans that operate within the framework of the district policy, but are tailored to the conditions and resources of the individual school.
An emergency response plan should include:
- Organization of a response team
- Identification of roles and responsibilities of support staff
- Detailed protective actions
Click here to learn more about emergency response plans, including the four phases of crisis management as identified by the U.S. Department of Education.
Practice your Responses
Effective preparation for and response to emergencies depends on people understanding policies and procedures. Maintaining preparedness is an ongoing process which involves debriefing following crises, periodic review, updating, practice exercises, drills and ongoing training.
Click here to learn more about security and emergency response in schools.