National Safety Month Awareness
June is National Safety Month and to both bring awareness and contribute to making the world safer, we offer eight tips for quickly improving K-12 school safety. The following are simple measures any district or school can enact to quickly improve the safety and security of their K-12 campuses.
Engage Your School Resource Officer
One simple way to improve school safety is to get some insights from those closest to safety. When is the last time you sat down with your School Resource Officer over coffee or lunch to plan some staff training? Do you know what their areas of concerns are?
Create and Enforce Purpose-Built Plans
Efficient, purpose-built planning can lead to quick improvements in campus safety. An example of purpose-built planning might involve a situation in which someone who should not be on campus hops the fence. What actions are taken when someone throws something over the fence (like a gun to get later)? What are your policies for opening gates for ingress and egress, and where do you design openings for proper flow? When was the last time you reviewed and updated those policies and planning procedures? Make sure you have purpose-built plans in place and that those plans are both practiced regularly and enforced.
Develop an Ownership Culture
It is critical for K-12 schools and school districts to respect an “It Can Happen Here” mentality. Every staff member needs to understand how critical safety is and what they should be paying attention to. An ownership culture results when everyone understands why it’s important to their jobs, to their lives, to put safety issues first. If every staff member knows that the fences are there for protection, then they are more likely to say something in a timely manner if they see something unusual. Specifically, regarding schools, we have seen repeatedly that staff or students were aware of suspicious activity and did not report it. This is where awareness and empowerment of the human element is needed!
Randomize 5-Minute Observations
Give this a try. Park in a different area of your campus every day for a week. Sit and observe for five minutes. Watch how students and staff move from the parking area to the school. Look for patterns.
Identify Exits and Safety Assets
Take a CPR Class This Summer
Summer is a great time to take a CPR class, a wilderness first aid course, or a Stop the Bleed course. Invite some friends and co-workers.
Walk Your Campus Perimeter Each Morning
Make it a mandatory practice to have a staff member walk the perimeter of their campus at least once every day. Look out for unusual or out of place items. It is not unusual for violent perpetrators to attempt to get weapons into a campus by throwing them over a perceived weak area in the fencing or perimeter.
This also presents a great opportunity for your School Resource Officer to conduct some awareness training for staff, educating them on things to look for, or better yet, partnering with a staff member for the daily walks, to further engage with individual staff members.
Create Interoperable Security Systems
Invest in interoperable systems. It is far too common and commonly problematic for schools to spend on a wide variety of technologies that ultimately cannot work together. Efficient campuses have security solutions that are interoperable. For example, weapons detection systems at the gates and school openings, working with analytics on cameras watching for unusual motion, working with talk down capabilities to determine assailants and intruders.
Each of the preceding are relatively low-cost tips to enact, but these are just the beginning. There are many other best practices for improving school safety that could accelerate the protection of schools exponentially. If you would like to discuss any of these eight tips or learn about other best practices, contact ICU Technologies. It’s time to Demand More™ from your security technology partner. Get started here.