Many schools are opening back up and shifting from online learning to in-person learning. This can be an exciting time for parents, children, and teachers.
Sadly, this opens up new levels of concern for schools and their students. Most schools perform a lockdown drill once a month to ensure student safety.
However, are you fully prepared in a situation where a real threat arises?
Keep reading to learn more about school safety and emergency preparedness.
A lockdown drill is a protocol executed by faculty members when there is an immediate threat to the school, such as an intruder incident. There are also other protocols for threats like a fire, bomb, or storm that are crucial. However, a school lockdown drill aims to keep occupants inside the building until the threat is gone.
More importantly, a school lockdown drill aims to deescalate any threats from an intruder. This can be done in numerous ways, and many school districts have different protocols for handling an assailant.
It's best to form different protocols based on the various crises. Many school districts make one plan for a multitude of crises. However, the best way to make an effective lockdown drill is to create specific safety protocols based on the level of danger.
Your chances of a successful and safe lockdown in an actual emergency station will be higher.
Reverse evacuations are a great example of different crisis stations. In the case of a severe storm like a tornado, getting students into the school as fast as possible is critical.
Having a plan of action for these circumstances will reduce any related responses from teachers and other faculty members.
A school lockdown drill is only as effective if everyone is thoroughly trained and given the right tools. All staff members should have access to a key for their classroom. This simple step could save many lives.
In the case of an active shooter, staff members should also have training for the "4 Step Action Plan" immediately. This means to lock the doors, cover any windows, barricade your surroundings, and most importantly, hide away from any direct gunfire.
A great way to have a successful school lockdown drill is to practice school safety every day. This way, if a real threat was to emerge, students are well prepared and better understand how to handle the situation.
Classroom exercises are a great way to practice this. For example, start by implementing interactive activities where students follow clear instructions to achieve a goal. These activities help students become more acclimated to their designated roles as students.
School safety can successfully occur in other ways, like implementing a school-wide test where students and teachers earn a certificate for completing a lockdown drill.
This way, students feel more confident about a practice lockdown drill and feel like they've earned something of value.
Student safety starts with you. That's why scheduled lockdown drills are an essential protocol that helps with school safety. However, even in a practice lockdown drill, things can go wrong. But that's why it's a practice drill, which means there is room for improvement!
If your school has protocols in place for a crisis, then here are some tips to follow when conducting and planning a practice lockdown drill.
All of these steps should aim to protect students and faculty members. However, in the case of a real emergency, specific actions may be forgotten or done incorrectly. That's why proper training and practice are critical and should happen regularly.
As a school official, it's essential to communicate with your local police officers. Having a plan for fast communication and response time can save lives. Emergency services should be able to respond to any threat within 6-10 minutes.
That's why it's crucial to establish your preferred emergency coordinators, who are closest to the campus.
Another great protocol is to install extra school safety precautions like a door barricade. This tool can be beneficial in a life-or-death situation because it works by fortifying a door against heavy force.
Door barricades are user-friendly and do not require a key or code to work. To activate this device, you lift a tab and let it fall into place within the anchored floor plate.
This doesn't require you to open the door, so safety is not compromised when using this device. This is important because being in a life-or-death situation causes you not to think clearly. The teacher has less to worry about and more time to think by having clear and easy instructions.
Another great tool against active shooters is a panic button. These devices work by simply pressing a button on your device. Once this is all done, security services are immediately alerted to your location.
The world is changing, and student safety and emergency preparedness are essential. This can be challenging to figure out, but having the proper protocol for a lockdown drill can change outcomes.
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