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planning and organizing before school starts

Mastering School Safety: Your Comprehensive Guide to Ensuring a Secure Academic Year

Kelly Moore
August 15, 2023

In our last blog, we discussed getting your critical safety teams up and running as this will set the foundation for your success throughout the school year.  In this blog, we are going to go through our final checks to ensure that you are ready.  Over the past couple of months, you have been going through your review and improvement processes, to close out the last school year, and going through the planning process to ensure you build upon the successes and lessons learned from last year. With all of that said you should be ready to tackle the new year. But now we are going to complete one final check and make sure. We are also going to revisit the need to manage your assets and what that means for you and your future.

First let’s go over the major components of your schedule and what it is that you should likely be doing this week if you haven’t already done them:

  • You will likely have your back-to-school kick-off for all your teachers (returning and new), and administration (returning and new) where you will need to make sure they all get the appropriate safety training they will need shortly after school begins

  • Your drill schedule and scenario schedule should be finalized and your administrators should have a copy of this schedule so they know well in advance what they are responsible for completing: type of drill, exercise, objectives, scenarios, etc.

  • Your schedule to monitor and inspect schools conducting drills to ensure fidelity to those set by the district safety team

  • Your training and meeting schedule for all of your safety teams and TBAIT teams

  • External Partner meetings

  • And your schedule for all of those meetings you need to present at for the purpose of ensuring district-level buy-in, proper funding, securing necessary time slots for future training and safety and security needs

  • Etc.

In essence, it's crucial to establish a comprehensive checklist encompassing all necessary tasks. Thoroughly revisiting this checklist ensures your preparedness, whether you feel fully prepared or not. The challenges are approaching, so readiness is key.

Again, all of this is something that you have likely already addressed and taken care of, but now we have to take a look at all of our safety and security assets. Just for review, a safety asset is just about anything you need, within your safety and security program, that needs to be regularly checked, inspected, and validated that it is working as designed to ensure that it will work when you need it to as you expect it to.  With that, we are not only looking to inspect those assets that we know are working but those that were identified as needing to be fixed or replaced to make sure that they have been. Especially with new assets put in place during the summer, we need to check them to make sure that they are working properly, and that the people who need to administer those systems are trained and understand what they are supposed to do.

Here are a few of the systems and assets that will need one final check before you open your doors:

  • Access and visitor management
  • Panic buttons, emergency alerting, and communications platforms
  • PA systems
  • Doors and locks
  • Anonymous reporting
  • Reunification systems
  • First aid kits
  • AEDs
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Cameras
  • Shot and gun detections
  • Training certifications
  • Cell phones, POC (Push-to-talk over Cellular), radios
  • Student and staff identification systems
  • Threat and behavioral case management
  • Maps and asset management systems
  • Emergency plans and operations plans and schedules
  • Etc.

The bottom line is that you should be looking at and/or creating your checklists to make sure you don’t miss anything that will be critical to the success and safety of your schools and organizations.

Don’t Forget:

  • Back-to-school training
  • Drills and exercises (tabletops)
  • Safety and TBAIT team meetings
  • Active shooter drill for September and the accompanying training

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