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school safety ecosystem connection

Solving “THE” problem, not “A” problem!

Kelly Moore
November 2, 2022

For the past 23 years or more, after every school emergency or act of violence, we enacted a new mandate in an attempt to prevent what had just happened. While this is a noble endeavor, it is unlikely that we will be able to prevent every possible scenario. Yes, we should correct our shortcomings, but just as important is our pursuit of creating an environment and culture that gives us our best opportunity to prevent future emergencies and respond to and recover from an emergency. We should be looking at solving “THE” problem and not just “A” problem. To accomplish this, we must look at a School Safety Ecosystem, not solely implementing and meeting the newest imposed mandate.

  • The school safety ecosystem includes a wide range of considerations, personnel, and components – including processes, protocols, and technology. When considering the ecosystem as a whole, it’s essential to recognize that the composition of each school is unique, each with its own geographic layout, infrastructure, and communications needs.

Simply put, school safety ecosystems are a collection of systems, processes, policies, and procedures; when connected, are all focused on making your schools safer. When we work towards making our systems work together and not piecemealing our safety based on individual mandates, we end up with a cohesive ecosystem that is balanced, based on our specific needs, and provides us with the possibility to stay safe. Additionally, if we have an incident, it gives us the best chances of survival. Most school safety programs have a collection of systems that are not working together; they lack a system that connects, integrates, and manages all of their individual systems. So, which systems are we talking about? While each circumstance is unique, if we use the FEMA and DHS recommendations for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery, the following should get you started:

  • Prevention: Those systems and processes meant to prevent incidents from occurring: Access control and visitor management; environmental design, video, and audio surveillance; sensors; Threat and Behavioral Assessment and Intervention; creating a positive and supportive learning environment/culture; and anonymous tips and reporting.

  • Mitigation: Many of the above systems can be used for mitigation purposes, but mitigation typically falls on the shoulders of policies and procedures: process improvement procedures; timelines and mandates to report deficiencies and to take corrective action; safety assessments requirements; verification that all of the systems are functioning as required/expected, etc.

  • Preparedness: While prevention is everyone’s goal, thinking that every incident can be prevented is unrealistic. So we must be ready to respond to any event should our prevention efforts fail. This would include: creating school safety and emergency operations plans; training; drills and exercises; policies and procedures that set mandates, roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

  • Response: Knowing what to do with confidence and competency during an emergency is primarily predicated on how well you accomplish the above responsibilities. Your success will be measured by how well you respond; this is the test, if you will.

  • Recovery: Again, how well you recover will be almost entirely dependent on the previous categories. A solid understanding of your reunification process and your Continuity of Operations Plan will go a long way toward your overall success during an emergency.

Bringing it all together. When we are talking about ecosystems, we need to consider how we are going to bring all of our systems into one cohesive system. We need to contemplate how we trigger alerts, communicate with all of our stakeholders, and collect the data to make it all actionable. If our systems are not working together to provide us with actionable data, we are wasting time looking for the information we need, and this ultimately slows down the response of our first responders. With the advancement in technology and specifically with communications platforms, we can provide the connective tissue to create a cohesive school safety ecosystem.

Solving “THE” problem requires us to understand all the different problems that exist and how to address them using all of our systems working together to give us our best opportunity to prevent or survive an emergency. For further information on how CrisisGo can assist you, book a meeting with our product specialist today.

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