Emergency Response Tips for Private Schools
Private schools may be largely free of governmental oversight, but one thing they must comply with is workplace safety standards. Schools are entrusted with not just education, but also the well-being of students, faculty and staff.
Here are three often overlooked areas of concern when it comes to workplace safety at private schools.
Natural Disasters – You got to plan ahead.
The threat of natural disasters is a real danger in California. Besides being located in one of the most active earthquake zones in the world, fires are an annual occurrence and some, like the recent firestorms in northern and southern California, pose serious danger to both life and property. We can’t know if or when something will occur, but we can plan ahead and practice how to react in the face of such dangerous events.
If your private school is in an area prone to flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, or if it sits near a wooded area which could fall prey to forest fire, then it’s clearly prudent to take extra precautions.
We recommend producing an emergency handbook for all staff and students, outlining
school policy and response measures.
Cover as many natural disaster topics as possible. No school should be without a comprehensive plan of action for these nightmare situations and, simulated disaster exercises to practice school responses should be conducted at least once per school year.
As the National School Safety and Security Services puts it, ‘the first and best line of defense is always a well-trained, highly-alert school staff and student body.’
Practice Emergency Drills – so that everyone knows what to do.
Most schools are in the habit of running practice emergency drills, which have been proven to be effective in lessening injuries for everyone in the school.
The more practice you have, the lower your risks because employees will be prepared and have the know-how on what to do in an emergency. They won’t have to think about what to do; they’ll already know and be ready to act quickly.
But don’t keep doing the same drill over and over. Hire professionals to train your staff up to speed on the techniques. Don’t allow employees to become complacent about workplace safety.
You can review a complete list of best practices for school security and emergency preparedness planning here. http://www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/best-practices-for-school-security-and-emergency-preparedness-planning/
Rapid Response Matters - Invest in state-of-the art communications systems
Anytime there is a potential for an injury on school property, it is imperative to enable rapid response.
Private schools should invest in installing high-tech communication systems in order to quickly alert not only first responders but also all staff and faculty, as well as student and parents, of any danger.
Smartphone apps can be incorporated to fire off messages and instructions with the touch of a screen, directing everyone to safe areas or designated evacuation sites, while also providing much needed information to police, fire, or ambulance crews. When it comes to critical situations, every second counts.
It may hard to manage such unexpected incidents, but preparation can greatly minimize injuries.
You can review the top notification systems like Blackboard Connect, One Call Now, and Rapid Responder here. https://www.campussuite.com/top-school-emergency-notification-systems-review/
Nobody wants their private school to face a situation involving an injured student or school employee, especially when it could’ve been avoided. You must ensure your staff and your students are all thoroughly aware of the response protocols and know exactly how use any communications technologies in place.
Invest the time and resources and your school can substantially lower injuries. If that unfortunate day ever comes where there is an incident, instead of making negative headlines your school can be praised for its responsiveness and proactive measures!