New school year – new challenges. Keeping your students and staff secure is crucial in today’s world. As you begin your school year, there are a number of ways that you can be proactive in keeping your students protected during critical events. Newly recommended security measures can help keep everyone at school safe while they’re there and even after they leave at the end of the day. Enhanced security measures are intended to reduce risk factors, prepare staff for emergency situations, evaluate entry and exit policies, train students and parents, implement communication platforms and increase safety precautions so that everyone enjoys a learning environment that is free from danger. This blog article covers important steps you can take to help keep students and staff as secure as possible this school year. Read on to learn more.
Assessing Your Current School Safety Protocol
The first step to improving your school safety system is a thorough assessment of the current protocol. The best way to do this is to form a team of people from various departments, including administration, security professionals, facilities and parents. This team can then evaluate your current school safety system and make recommendations for improvements. Your team will be able to look at all aspects of school security including school entrances and exits, staff training, emergency response and communication systems. With a thorough review, you can begin to make the changes necessary to ensure a more secure environment for students, faculty and staff.
Provide Staff With an Emergency Communication Platform
Another consideration for schools seeking to promote a more secure environment is an emergency communication platform. Traditionally, many schools relied on phone trees and public address systems to alert others to potential dangers. However, a mass notification platform, like Regroup, provides a smarter solution. Capable of sending thousands of emails, push notifications, texts and even voice mails per minute, Regroup’s mass notification system is an emergency communication tool that reaches more people, faster, than traditional methods.
A mass notification platform allows you to quickly and effectively communicate with staff in the event of an emergency. For example, if there is an active shooter incident at your school, it is imperative that you quickly and accurately get the word out. Indeed, lives may depend on swift action. In this scenario, a mass notification platform – used for emergency communication – will cover more ground, reach more people and provide more accurate information to law enforcement and parents.
Ensure Effective Emergency Response Procedures
As part of the assessment of your current safety protocols, it’s also important to ensure that there are effective emergency response procedures in place. This requires consideration and training for a number of scenarios, including bomb threats, severe weather, endangered child and natural disasters.
Most importantly, you should make sure that everyone who works at your school is aware of the emergency response procedures. This can be accomplished by reviewing them with staff and reiterating them periodically. You can also create emergency response procedures posters that are displayed in common areas, such as the cafeteria and staff lounge. Using your mass notification platform to regularly publish policy reminders or changes can also help in your emergency response training. Combining these steps can ensure that everyone is aware of your school’s emergency procedures and their individual or team roles during critical situations.
Using Mass Notification for Communication
For your school or district to solidify emergency preparedness and response plans, a mass communication platform is essential. With a mass notification system in place, you can send critical alerts to your entire network, a specific geolocation or everyone in the school district. During severe weather, power outages, active shooter events or other threats, mass notification is the most reliable tool for alerting students, faculty and staff.
You can use the same platform to send more day-to-day communications. Those may include schedule changes, event and meeting notices, training requirements and other non-critical updates. A secure, redundant communication system makes it easy to send a variety of alerts and important information more quickly and efficiently than email alone.
Harnessing Technology to Improve School Safety
The task of keeping students and staff safe is easier accomplished through an effective, overarching communication plan. To best employ emergency and routine communications, mass notification provides a secure, redundant and cloud-based solution that is robust and reliable. Used as part of your emergency preparedness and response plan, mass notification can help protect others when moments count. Other technologies can also be implemented to address security and safety concerns:
- Improved Security: Security features such as facial recognition, sound sensors and computer vision, can provide enhanced facility security.
- Smart door access: New door access systems can help ensure that only people with proper clearance are able to enter the facility.
- Improved communication: Smart communication tools can help to keep your entire campus secure in the event of an emergency.
Communicating with Parents and Guardians
When considering the safety and security of students, it’s important to have an open line of communication with parents and guardians. This includes informing them about upcoming events, safety protocols and more. A mass notification system like Regroup can enable you to do this in a number of ways, including through planned communication, emails and social media.
School administrators should also consider hosting events where parents and guardians are invited to raise questions or concerns that they have about school safety. This opens dialogue between school administrators and parents so that smarter approaches to safety and communication can be reached together. Most districts can invite local law enforcement to host discussions and provide parents with tips for improving safety both in and out of school.
Your Next Steps
There are many ways to create a safer, more secure learning environment. Start by assessing your current emergency protocols and implement the appropriate measures to improve it. By embracing and implementing available technology, you can better protect your students, staff and the school. Get started by booking a free demo of Regroup’s platform to see how mass notification can bolster your emergency plan and create a better environment for all.