3 Ways to Boost School Emergency Response Preparedness

  • Apr 25, 2018

From Florida to California, and just about every state in between, school violence has become one of the biggest concerns for parents, schools staff, and students. School districts have taken the initiative to amp up security by investing a lot of money in new emergency preparedness and security measures.

In 2012, eight schools districts in Atlanta, Georgia invested $28 million into hiring armed security officers, installing new surveillance, and implementing panic buttons in classrooms, and Atlanta schools districts are not alone. In 2015, the Now is the Time plan was set in motion by the president (who partnered with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Homeland Security) to implement greater security measures and emergency preparedness plans in school systems across the United States. However, even with all the investments and planning, school violence and emergency preparedness are an issue in a lot of districts. Here is a look at a few key strategic components to help boost the emergency preparedness at your school.

Implementing Physical Safety Technology and Using It for Protection

Beefing up access points, installing new security cameras, and utilizing electronic key cards are all examples of routes some schools are taking to implement physical safety technology. Some schools are even creating a central security station at their facilities where mapping programs are used to show live feeds of all activity in the school, especially at entry and exit points. Technology should be making school security easier to achieve, and in many ways it has.

The way schools are sending school safety alerts are also changing. Since 91% of individuals have a cell phone on them or near them at all times, according to Forbes.com, text messaging is being used as an effective communication tool between school staff members and between staff members and students. Imagine a situation where there was an active shooter in the building. Students and staff members could receive text messages with explanations of the situation and instructions to keep them safe.

Creating Simple Emergency Action Plans

Making sure your school staff and students know exactly how to react during an emergency is ever important. Most schools are taking time to create simple emergency action plans and using those plans to train students and staff members through drills and on-site simulations. The ALICE technique is a good example. The acronym stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, which are the five important steps of action during an emergency situation.

When extreme, unexpected, or dangerous weather like a hurricane threatens to hit, SMS alerts can help the public react and find safety quickly. SMS weather alerts enable the public to make an informed decision on whether to travel or not to travel during the threat of bad weather. Plus the best thing about SMS alerts is often phone lines can be downed in extreme weather or people don’t have access to the internet to check their email, but SMS is often the last form of communication to fail during extreme weather. When seconds matter, use SMS or another form of automated warning!

Practicing Training District Wide in an Ongoing Fashion

Training for school safety and security must be an ongoing thing with some continuity between districts, and this is where a lot of areas drop the ball. When emergency preparedness is a straightforward process that happens the same at all institutions, students and staff can know what to expect regardless of what district they are working in or attending a school in.

Plus, compliance programs that are district-wide make it easier to stay on top of training programs, meetings, and updates that are pertinent to keeping everyone safe as time goes by. Compliance across the district can also be simplified with technology. For example, an automated system could send out text messages to inform everyone in the district of updates to security plans, training, or implemented protocol.

By focusing on these three key strategic components, you can see a huge difference in overall emergency preparedness within your school district. Utilizing physical safety technology, creating simple emergency plans, and making emergency training a district-wide priority will take your district’s level of security to a new level.

Author Biography: Joel Lee

Joel Lee is the SEO marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases.