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Everything is an Asset

Kelly Moore
May 26, 2023

As we get closer to the end of our school year, we have to look back at all we did and accomplished. We have only talked briefly about after-action reviews (AAR), but we did discuss how vital they are to your safety and your improvement process. Through the AAR process, you gain experience, knowledge, insight, and identify critical needs and improvements. At the end of the school year, we have the need and opportunity to evaluate our entire safety program. This is our opportunity to examine all of our safety assets and freshen them up. What is a Safety Asset? Let’s explore what safety assets are and how we manage them.

As mentioned in our previous blogs, we need to acknowledge that our safety program is an ecosystem comprising several different systems. Each one of those systems should be considered a safety asset. But there are many more things that we should consider safety assets. So let’s use this definition to guide us in this conversation: A safety asset in ANY system, item, process, mandate you add, or should have added to your ecosystem that enhances the safety of your school or organization. Everything you count on during an emergency should be considered an asset; EVERYTHING. Remember the 3 Pillars of Safety; Policies, Systems, and People? Yep, they are all assets. This is important because everything you put into your safety ecosystem has an expiration date and needs to be refreshed at regular intervals. The end of the year is the best opportunity to make sure everything is working and/or is being fixed if it is not working. Let’s look at some of the safety assets that make up our ecosystem, then I want to explore this concept of everything having an expiration date.

Expanding the working definition of what a safety asset is, let’s see just some of those components one would expect to see within a safety ecosystem that we would consider a safety asset as well:

  • Items like: AEDs, First aid kits, stop-the-bleed kits, fire extinguishers, radios, bull horns, etc.

  • Systems like: Emergency management and alerting, threat and behavioral intervention management, access control, student and staff accountability, video monitoring, gun detection, vape and loud noise sensors, strobes and beacons, digital signs, visitor management, compliance management, drill management, anonymous reporting, etc.

  • Processes like: Safety Assessments and audits, emergency operations plans and evaluations, EOP training (Drills, Table Top and Full-scale exercises), policies and directives, asset inspection and maintenance, other staff training (reporting and concerning behavior recognition), process improvement management, administrative reviews, ASSET Management, etc.

Now let’s examine the concept of the expiration date. To ensure all of our assets are performing as prescribed and to ensure they will work when we need them most, we need to regularly inspect and monitor all of our assets. Many of those inspection intervals are created as a part of a mandate, policies, process, and/or part of the regular maintenance of your systems and processes. We often test and inspect our processes if we are completing our mandated drills and exercises. Other inspections require a person to physically go to a location and inspect a particular asset (AED as an example) to ensure the battery is charged and the device is working properly or hasn’t expired.

As with any significant program within your organization, there should be a strategic plan that addresses safety that accounts for where you currently are and how you get to where you want to be. It should answer the question: What are we going to do to build upon what we have so our schools can be safer each and every year? I bring this up, because, when we are completing our safety assessments, initially we will include (mark) some very important items and systems as, “Not Applicable,” because you simply don’t have them. However, not having these systems shouldn’t be interpreted as not needing them.  It is my opinion that if something is included in your safety strategic plan, it should also be tracked and monitored to ensure it doesn’t slip through the cracks and get lost in the many other processes you have.

So with all of this, what are we really talking about? Well, asset management and how that can help us establish the current status of the safety health of our buildings. We know that there is going to be another school emergency somewhere and that it could occur at any time.  We just don’t know where or when. We have seen schools who had systems in place that just didn’t work as needed when they needed them. While there are likely many reasons for this, it will likely fall on to the fact that they were implemented and there was no follow through, training, monitoring, inspection, or validating of those systems.

Now let’s look at how we monitor what is likely so many disparate systems on a regular basis.

  • With today’s technology, many of our systems can monitor themselves and report if there is a problem.

  • Other systems and items will require someone to physically inspect those systems and processes.

  • Within the concept of every asset having an expiration date, consult with the manufacturer for the recommended inspection intervals and create an asset calendar for each of your systems, items, and processes.

  • When you are looking for new solutions to a current safety concern, ask your prospective vendors to include the ability to automatically monitor their systems and report the current status of those systems and report any anomalies as soon as they are detected.

  • Consider an open API (Application Programming Interface) to allow two different systems to have the ability to talk with each other.

  • Look for providers who can compile all the data you receive from your reporting systems, inspections and monitoring system in a manner that can be presented to you so you can make decisions.

Managing so many disparate systems can be a monumental task. How you collect and use that information will be crucial to how well you are able to manage the safety status of your buildings.

If you need help or more information on how to manage your school safety, please contact CrisisGo to assist you.

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