When Every Minute Counts!
At CrisisGo, we value the power of communication, and we know that it is critical to have a clear and efficient process of communication to make your organization safer. CrisisGo also believes that time is a key factor for safety, and we are developing tools to give people more time during an emergency.
We have a special guest post by communication strategy expert, Bonnie Leedy. Her article discusses the importance of utilizing valuable resources to build effective strategies for communicating and connecting with your community.
Bonnie Leedy is the CEO of School Webmasters, the school website management company that also helps schools improve their communication strategies. They develop and manage school websites, social media, and public relations that enable any size school to deliver effective messaging and build strong school brands.
When Every Minute Counts!
Guest Post by Bonny Leedy
It isn’t often in school communication that minutes and seconds count. But when it comes to communicating during a crisis, that is exactly the case.
We strive to help all of our schools improve their communication strategies, including using their websites and social media effectively to create relationships with their local media and build trust and confidence with parents and the community. But, when it comes to crisis management, that trust must already be in place.
From the students and staff to the parents and local law enforcement, you establish trust with clear and concise communication and a proactive, organized emergency response plan. Students and staff must also be well prepared with emergency and lockdown drills. Nothing will reduce panic like practice. Nothing will build parent confidence like knowing that a well-tested plan is in place.
To begin any critical effort, like ensuring student safety, an emergency preparedness plan is the first step. Nearly every school in the nation already has one in place. But having an emergency plan in place is useless if it lies in some dusty binder on a shelf. It must be in the hands of those who will act on it quickly during a crisis.
In a panic situation, when even those with experience and training may fail to act, teachers and staff need to have the wherewithal to know what to do next. Ideally, emergencies require a go-to resource. That is where CrisisGo comes in.
Working with local law enforcement, schools decide upon the best emergency strategies. Then, using CrisisGo technology, this easily implemented communication is pushed to every classroom computer, silently running in the background until needed. Whether it is a lockdown, a lockout, or a shelter-in-place response, teachers can send and receive vital safety information directly from their computers.
Communication is most effective when it is two-way—especially in an emergency. When safety officers and administrators receive the information they need from those directly involved with the emergency, they can make the right decisions, and a positive outcome becomes much more likely.
This is when minutes matter. Without immediate access to the right information, we see some of the heartbreaking outcomes that far too many schools have experienced in the past few years. With effective communication and instructions for any emergency right at your fingertips, even untrained staff can make proactive, life-saving decisions. It’s all about the communication! CrisisGo makes that possible.
What comes next? You have your local law enforcement—approved plan; you have the alerts, checklists, and up-to-the-minute status reporting during an emergency. Your next steps in building trust and confidence with parents and the community are to:
- Provide professional development to your staff.
- Incorporate safety training into your staff’s professional development curriculum.
- Schedule emergency lockdown drills to familiarize your students, staff, and volunteers with your school’s safety protocols.
- Review and revise your protocols to improve and strengthen your plan.
Finally, be sure everyone knows their role in the crisis plan. Use an integrated communications approach, such as the following:
Use your school websites and social media.
- Before an emergency, use these channels to let parents know you have proven and effective safety protocols in place.
- During an emergency, if possible, use an emergency alert web page that tells parents where to get up-to-date information. Consider pre-drafting typical emergency messages to use during a crisis.
- Use your social media channels to present a consistent message to parents and enhance your communication with them.
Your communication efforts, especially during an emergency, will be some of the most consequential communication work you will ever do. Planning ahead, using all the tools at your disposal, and earning the trust and confidence of your staff, students, and parents are worth the effort. We hope you will never need all this planning and preparation, but having the reputation of being a secure school may even help you divert a crisis.