3 Tips for Making Schools Safer Involves Training, Practicing and Communicating

School safety has taken on a primary focus, what with the recent school shooting tragedies. To prepare in the event of any emergency, whether it’s the presence of a hostile individual, a natural disaster, or a building emergency, read these tips for making schools safer for the students and staff who spend their time there.

Train Staff

The leaders in an emergency are the teachers and staff who look after students. It’s important these leaders know how to direct students in a crisis. To equip them, make detailed training a district-wide priority. Even staff members such as your IT specialist should prepare to protect students and facilitate emergency safety. When training your staff, give each employee specific responsibilities to handle a fire, lockdown, and other dangers, and have a contingency plan if there is a protocol failure. Task fellow teachers with educating a substitute on their duties, too.

Don’t limit your training to the school day—make sure staff know how to react when away from the school building or during an after-school program. These situations present the most unknowns, so walking through how coaches, chaperones, and teachers should respond in a crisis is a necessity. An emergency is often chaotic. Training your staff limits the chaos and helps them keep clear heads so they can address student concerns.

Practice Sensible Drills

To address an emergency’s chaos, schools hold various drills that allow students and staff to prepare for crises together. It’s important to have constructive drills, but you should be sensible about exposing your students to the possibility of danger. Active shooter drills that incorporate a stand-in for an actual shooter, equipped with a pellet gun, may traumatize students who are aware of instances of school violence and extremely fearful as a result. Overall, though, drills are useful tools for preparation—vary your drill time so you practice without warning and at different times of the day.

Improve Your Communication

Streamlining communication is another tip for school safety. This prevents wasting valuable time in an emergency. While training is one way to better staff-wide communication channels, there are other improvements you can implement. Consider partnering with a two-way radio company that offers radios dedicated to sending and receiving messages. On top of that, some offer other technologies to further assist your team’s coordination.

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