Sometimes the unexpected happens, and disasters disrupt our lives. In some cases, these events can take place at school, which can be overwhelming for adults and students alike. It is important that schools prepare emergency plans in case of a disaster or emergency situation. Having a plan in place will allow everyone to handle the event calmly without chaos ensuing from lack of preparation.
The following are five tips to enhance school emergency preparedness.
1. Writing an Emergency Plan
Teachers, students, and parents should all be involved in writing a plan for the school. This will allow everyone to know what they should do if an emergency occurs at their school or nearby.
The plan may include events such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, hazardous spills, weapons on campus, bomb threats, etc. Each event requires different actions depending on the location of the disaster and the people affected by it.
At the beginning of each year, teachers should sit down with their students to discuss what they should do if disaster strikes while they are at school. This may seem like something that could happen only to other schools, but even small things like power outages need to be discussed.
2. Know the Local Emergency Resources
Teachers, students, and parents should become aware of local resources that may be available during emergencies. Knowing who to call and what types of assistance can be provided is very beneficial during a disaster. These resources include:
Having this resource available gives schools peace of mind knowing help will arrive quickly if it’s needed.
3. Leverage Technology
Technology is a powerful tool in the hands of our students and teachers. Using innovative technology in an emergency can be beneficial to safety and speed in many cases.
There are active shooter apps for schools available that allow to quickly report incidents as they happen and also send alerts to emergency contacts.
The use of social media apps like Twitter and Facebook can be used to get in contact with large volumes of people quickly by posting updates on the situation. Teachers could also use these same apps to send messages to parents during an evacuation if it is necessary for their children’s safety.
4. Conduct Drills
It is important that schools conduct drills, so everyone is prepared in case an emergency does come up. This will give students, teachers, and staff an idea of how to handle emergencies from start to finish.
Each drill should have specific instructions for teachers and students, so they know what steps to take during each drill or emergency situation. This makes practicing drills less of a chore for students and more educational.
5. Ensure Everyone Knows Evacuation Routes
In the event that it becomes necessary for teachers and students to evacuate classrooms, knowing where to go can save lives by keeping them out of harm’s way.
Having them walk to a specific location like a football field or playground can make it easier for all people involved to evacuate without getting lost and confused during an emergency situation quickly.
This also allows those in charge of the evacuation, usually teachers or school officials, to easily keep track of people as they are moved out of the building and to locations where parents will be able to meet their children after evacuating.
Schools need to be aware of potential emergencies in case they happen and have a plan in place in which to deal with them. To make sure you’re prepared if disaster strikes your school or another’s nearby, we recommend reading our list of five ways that can help enhance school emergency readiness.