If your school has never had any form of a campus emergency, it can be easy to disconnect yourself with those who have and say, “That would never happen at my school.” With emergencies of all kinds, it’s important to remember that emergencies don’t discriminate and no school is immune to a disaster. Throughout the years, there have been many incidents that have sparked concern and even injuries on campuses across the nation. Recently, violent protests erupted at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, Georgia after a police officer shot and killed a student who was holding a knife and was thought to be carrying a gun, though no gun was recovered from the scene. Protesters smashed a campus police car’s window and then set the car on fire. Students were told to stay inside their dorms or apartment and not walk around on campus during the protests to avoid injury. Classes resumed as normal the following day.
Keeping Your Campus Safe
While you cannot prevent incidents such as the Georgia Tech University protests, or any other incidents on campuses for that matter, you can implement plans to help guide your faculty during an emergency. By having a plan in place, you will have peace of mind knowing that no matter the incident, your faculty and students are safe and there’s a significantly larger chance that the situation will able to be handled more efficiently.
Here are a few ways to better prepare your campus for an unexpected emergency:
- Prepare for any incident using the All-Hazards Approach. The All-Hazards Approach focuses on the type of impact that a threat will have on your school. The four main impacts are loss of facility, loss or failure of information technology, reduced workforce, or a reputational event. If your Emergency Action Plan is based around the All-Hazards Approach, this will help prevent having a binder filled with hundreds of threats that you have to filter through every time an incident occurs.
- Ditch the binder storage and embrace the world of technology. With Preparis’ cloud-based document storage, you will be able to access your school’s EAP from any device. For campuses with multiple buildings and teachers, this is extremely helpful, as otherwise you would need to have a hard copy in virtually every classroom to ensure that it is easily accessible for everyone. Cloud-based document storage eliminates this issue and ensures that faculty and staff have 24/7/365 access to plans and important documents.
- Make communication a top priority. When an incident occurs, the school needs to be able to get word out about the situation as soon as possible. By implementing an emergency notification system such as the one offered by Preparis, you will be able to send out alerts to your students and faculty members quickly and efficiently. With social media being so popular, many schools who have been lacking an emergency communication plan have found that students get frustrated when they read about an incident occurring on campus via social media before the school sends out an alert. In May of 2017, that was a grievance of University of Texas students during a stabbing incident.
- Another great way to improve the way your campus prepares for an emergency is to train your faculty and staff on how to respond to an incident. People tend to think that they know exactly what they will do if an active shooter enters the building or if there is a fire. Truth be told, you never know what you will do in that situation, until you are in it. For those who have never been trained on how to respond to an emergency, there is a significantly larger chance of them “freezing up” out of shock and confusion. By implementing training via Preparis’ interactive, online-based training or tabletop exercise, your faculty and staff will be knowledgeable on how to respond to and recover from any type of incident.
- Make sure that all faculty and staff are familiar with not only emergency exits and evacuation routes, but utility shutoffs as well. For flooding and chemical or radioactive incidents, it will be important that HVAC or electrical systems get switched off immediately.
To read about how Preparis has helped ensure the safety of Lake Oconee Academy, click here.
To request a demo of Preparis, click here.
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