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Campus Safety Plans

There is a lot of talk about school safety plans. At CSG we believe it is important to clearly identify what is expected regarding campus safety and how to assure our schools are meeting those expectations.

Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

This is what most folks think about when we mention safe school plans. An ERP has several specific components as well as common applications. Generally speaking, the ERP addresses environmental or human caused dynamic situations that might, or actually are, placing staff and students in immediate danger.

A basic ERP includes strategies and procedures for safely moving students and staff. The good news your school already has (or should have) the basic components in place. Those are:

  • Building Evacuations (Get everyone out of the buildings – Fire Drill)

  • Reverse Evacuations (Get everyone into the buildings - Reverse Fire Drill)

  • Campus Evacuations (Get everyone off the campus)

Each of these components includes layers of application that should be included in related policy/procedures. For example, an earthquake is a fire drill with additional layers such as S&R. A dangerous situation on or near campus is a reverse fire drill with the additional layer of locking doors and closing blinds etc..

The success of any ERP efforts will be based on ability to:

  • Set clear expectations

  • Provide clear written policies for emergency procedures.

  • Train to the expectations

  • Meaningful, perspective based, and age appropriate training and drills for students and staff.

  • Model the expectations

  • All administrative personnel must commit holding themselves and subordinates accountable to the rules. (Shift the “It’ll never happen here” paradigm.)

  • Audits

  • Annual stakeholder audits are an essential element of success. They’re the difference between “feeling” safe and being safe!

How prepared is your school or school district? Ask about the:

  • District-wide Communications Plan (Comms)

  • A comms plan should not be referred to as a “radio” plan or “radio” training. A comprehensive comms plan includes, but is not limited to:

  • Maintenance and distribution

  • Infrastructure

  • Clear expectations/training/audits assuring the most efficient communications during day to day or emergency campus or district-wide operations.

  • Campus Evacuation Plan (Specific plan for evacuating the area)

  • This plan must include coordinating efforts with other community resources

  • Who makes notifications/requests?

  • Responsibility for making calls must have redundant safeguards

  • What resources are called?

  • These numbers should be immediately available and annually updated.

  • Primary and alternate evacuation destinations should be predetermined and selected with input from the City or County disaster preparedness coordinator.

  • Necessary equipment and training.

  • Lock-Down Plan

  • Are there degrees of lock-down?

  • Doors shut and locked but classes go on.

  • Doors locked, blinds closed. Room dark and quiet.

  • Why would we initiate?

  • What do we call a “lock-down?”

  • Who can initiate/cancel?

  • Necessary equipment and perspective-based, age appropriate training.

  • Run/Hide/Fight (or as I like to say Separate/Secure/Defend

  • Designated Chain of Command

  • An overall theme of emergency response is establishing a chain of command. All ERP components should specify the District-level Chain of Command and require principals to designate and announce a person in charge during their absence. The designate should be aware of, or know how to immediately access the ERP. From time to time, ERP related drills/audits should be conducted when the principal is off campus.

If these factors are not in place the Campus Safety Group is ready to help you with your efforts toward comprehensive and sustainable Emergency Response Plans! 818-381-6427

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