Simple Ways to Make Schools and Colleges Safer
Incidents can happen anytime, and any place, and educational institutions are no exception. They usually occur when we least expect them. No one knows when they will take place or whether they’ll happen at all.
What we do know is that being prepared can make a difference in the outcome and potentially save lives. Because ensuring optimal safety and well-being of staff, students, and other building occupants is vital, here are several simple ways to make schools and colleges safer.
Create an emergency plan
Whether we’re talking about a small school or a big campus, educational institutions are expected to have an emergency plan. Regardless of how big they are or where they’re located, such facilities require a preparedness plan that will help keep everything in check in case of an emergency.
The truth is disaster can strike at any time. Being prepared is a big part of maintaining school safety, and it all starts with familiarizing each building occupant with a detailed and well-thought-out crisis plan, including students, teachers, staff, and also parents.
Implement safety measures that build preparedness
Another simple way to make schools safer and build preparedness is by implementing and practising certain safety measures on a regular basis. Make it a common practice for staff to verify who the children are leaving the school with. You could also start notifying parents when the student has been safely dismissed.
Aside from such practices, it also pays to provide active shooter training courses that will increase students’ and teachers’ levels of preparedness. Focused on both response and prevention, such programs go a long way in building safety practices. It also ensures everyone knows what to do in case of a real-life emergency.
Focus on enhancing building access control
Making sure that not just anyone can walk into a school is important for more reasons than one. Preventing unauthorized individuals from entering lowers the possibility of an emergency arising. If the person trying to enter the building doesn’t possess a visitor’s badge or is not familiar with the staff, they should not be permitted in the school or college in question.
Other than controlling who enters and exits the educational institution, another way to enhance building access control is to lock the doors during the daytime. It goes without saying that all the locks should be functional and that the keys should be distributed to all the staff for easy access in a critical situation.
Increase security by using only one school entry point
Having several different points of entry can make it difficult for schools and colleges to keep track of who’s entering and exiting the educational facility. One way to deal with this is to designate one particular area for both entering and exiting.
This is the area that needs to be thoroughly examined and guarded by security personnel at all times. Not only is this a great way to ward off any unwanted visitors and control visits, but it’ll also help schools identify any security gaps.
Invest in safety alarms and technology
Other than offering physical protection, educational institutions also need to provide technological solutions to increase the overall safety of the facility. From vehicle identification to driver screening, introducing new technology can be a great way to control school and campus traffic and security. It’s also wise to introduce a dismissal platform to take some of the load off the staff’s shoulders and maintain optimal safety.
Other than that, facilities like these should also make use of apps and software that will protect their safety in cases of emergency. They should also rely on free services that send out email and smartphone notifications when an emergency situation arises.
Add variety to regular fire drills
Last, but not least, it’s always a good idea to take existing safety measures and use them to improve the way an institution responds to emergencies. For instance, fire drills are already a regular part of a school calendar. They can be a great way to practice responding to some new factors.
Add variety to your drills by introducing them at a different time of the day than usual. Have your staff and students use an alternate route by blocking off the default exit path and offer search and rescue training. This way, you’ll expose building occupants to different emergencies and improve their overall response.
School safety starts with an optimal level of preparedness
Optimal safety is a crucial factor in ensuring a positive learning environment. It’s also one of the main aims of every educational institution. By taking these simple steps, learning facilities can introduce effective measures that will reduce threats, maintain student and staff safety, and help the institution operate more effectively.