What Are The Types of School Emergencies And How To Manage Them

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Is your school at risk from natural and/or man-made emergencies? While we do not wish to confront the likelihood of a disaster, the reality is, it can strike in our schools at any given time. And the adults in the school community, the administrators, teachers, staff and parents have the tremendous responsibility of working together as a team in order to protect the most vulnerable among us – our children.

Using the Checklists below, assess your school’s level of vulnerability in various types of emergency events: Natural Disasters, Building Fires and Wildfires and Active Shooter/Terrorist Attacks. The more items you check off from the lists, the better prepared your school is. Also consider the items in the checklists to start or improve upon your school’s emergency response plan.

Natural Disasters

Some natural disasters can be predicted, giving schools enough warning to evacuate or take other safety precautions. But others, like earthquakes, can happen unexpectedly or go through rapid changes that suddenly put a school in danger.

NATURAL DISASTER Emergency Preparedness Checklist

❑ Natural events and hazards that may affect our school have been identified, i.e. – Extreme Hot or Cold Weather, Hurricanes, Storms, Tornadoes, Flooding, Wildfires, Landslides, Earthquakes
❑ Building Safety Inspection is passed in coordination with the insurance company at least twice yearly.
❑ An Emergency Response Procedure i.e., school closure, cancellation, evacuation, first aid response, search and rescue, and so on, is documented and widely published
❑ An Emergency Procedure for 2 simultaneously occurring natural disasters is documented, shared and published
(For example, how to respond to flooding following a hurricane event)
❑ An Emergency Chain of Command is established and trained regularly
❑ Emergency Supplies such as First-Aid Kits are inspected and stocked regularly
❑ Emergency Drills are done at least every 3 months
❑ Emergency Lighting, Batteries and Back-up Power are in working order
❑ Essential computer data and programs are backed-up off-site
❑ A mobile emergency communication system for contacting students, families, and emergency services is in place
❑ Alarms and warning systems are in working order and checked daily
❑ I am confident that the staff, parents and students know what to do when a natural disaster happens at school

Building Fires and Wildfires

Between 2007 and 2011, fire departments in the U.S. responded to about 5,700 structure fires in educational facilities. Seventy-one percent of those fires were in K-12 schools, and about half of them were intentionally set. The remaining half of fires in schools occur unintentionally from things like malfunctioning heating units or chemicals interacting in a chemistry lab.

Emergency preparation should not be limited to indoor fires. Wildfires can pose real threats to schools, especially those along the West and in rural areas, where dry climates and wind cause fires to move and grow rapidly.

FlRE Emergency Preparedness Checklist

❑ An evacuation and response plan is documented and widely published
❑ Building Safety Inspection is passed in coordination with the insurance company at least twice yearly. Fire Safety may include having the proper number of sprinklers, fire alarm pulls, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the building.
❑ Building maps are displayed in prominent places, such as right inside main doors, can help firefighters navigate the school in an emergency
❑ Regular Fire Evacuation Drills are done at least every 3 months
❑ A “survivable space” around buildings for students to gather during a fire emergency is designated and announced.
❑ An Emergency Chain of Command is established and trained regularly
❑ Emergency Supplies such as First-Aid Kits are inspected and stocked regularly
❑ Essential computer data and programs are backed-up off-site
❑ A mobile emergency communication system for contacting students, families, and emergency services is in place
❑ Alarms and warning systems are in working order and checked daily
❑ I am confident that the staff, parents and students know what to do when a when a fire emergency happens at school

Terrorist/Active Shooter Events

Between 2013 and 2015, there were 160 school shootings in 38 states. Nearly 53 percent happened at K-12 schools, while 47 percent occurred on college campuses. While these situations can seem to come out of nowhere, schools can increase prevention measures and better prepare students, staff, and families in the event of a terrorist or active shooter threat.

ACTIVE SHOOTER Emergency Preparedness Checklist

❑ A silent Panic Alarm button is installed to immediately notify law enforcement of armed intruders
❑ Remote-lock doors and discreet metal detectors are installed to apprehend armed intruders
❑ Security cameras and other video surveillance equipment are installed in strategic places to spot intruders in advance
❑ “If you see something, say something” Alertness Training is documented and published widely
❑ Regular Emergency Lockdown Drills are done at least every 3 months
❑ A “Panic Room” in the buildings for students to gather during an active shooter emergency is discreetly designated and shared.
❑ A mobile emergency communication system for contacting students, families, and emergency services is in place
❑ Alarms and warning systems are in working order and checked daily
❑ I am confident that the staff, parents and students know what to do when a when an active shooter emergency happens at school

Source: Emergency Preparedness in Schools www.accreditedschoolsonline.org

About HAVRION ALERT

HAVRION ALERT is an end-to-end emergency notification system that makes calling for help easy and fast. ALERT can be immediately activated through physical or digital panic buttons with a direct connection to first responders. ALERT is for use in any school emergency, including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. 

An Alyssa’s Law Compliant Solution 

In compliance with Alyssa’s Law, ALERT sends silent notifications and directions to get people to safety and ensures 911 is notified within seconds after the alarm is activated. This effectively closes the vulnerability gap during an emergency – that critical time between sounding off the alarm and waiting for first responders to arrive at the scene. 

Alyssa’s Law is named after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff who lost her life in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Investigation of the tragedy found that insufficient response time was a contributing factor in the loss of life. Alyssa’s Law requires that all public elementary and secondary schools install either silent panic alarms or alternative emergency mechanisms approved by The Department of Education.

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