Page 32 - Campus Security & Life Safety, November/December 2018
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seasonal threat.
Active shooter. In contrast most schools have significantly fewer,
less developed plans in place for active shooter events. Most school officials are working on this proactively, however preparedness and protection plans trail significantly behind those in place for fire or weather-related threats. Many schools practice only one active shooter drill per year and others have no alarm or warning system in place similar to the warnings for tornados or fires.
Less familiar emergencies can also represent danger for schools and require emergency plans. These could include geographical-related emer- gencies, non-traditional location emergencies and facility emergencies.
Geographical-based emergencies. Certain emergencies can arise based on where an educational facility is located and must be consid- ered when developing emergency plans. For example, a school in Ari- zona may need an alarm for dust storms or haboobs, while this is unnecessary for a school in the Midwest. A school located near a pris- on or high-crime area may have different emergency needs than a campus in a rural area.
Non-traditional location emergencies. Any time education occurs beyond the traditional classroom, school leaders need plans for emer- gency situations that address the specific setting. For instance, is there a plan in place for children on field trips, including where students will regroup and who is responsible for what? Is there a plan for students studying in the campus quad if an emergency arises? Temporary events can also present emergency challenges. For example, during a gradua- tion on the football field, what security is in place for an open venue with a large number of people and limited exit points? What is the preparedness plan to protect that area this venue?
Facility emergencies. Critical equipment within campus facilities also requires emergency back-up plans. If a server goes down for a week, can teachers still grade? If campus buildings lose heat or air, can students still attend? How is the school monitoring these critical systems?
When creating a plan for each emergency, ask these three questions: Who do I contact? How will I contact them? What do I say?
Who do I contact? When an emergency occurs, it’s important to contact those affected in a way that enables immediate response to those in need. Everyone in an emergency situation fits into one of three categories (the “three Rs”)
Responders. These are the individuals who are expected to rectify the situation. They are the first people who need to know about an emergency.
Reactors. These are people directly affected by the emergency. They are potentially required to help resolve issues.
Revisionists. These are people who need to know about the situa- tion after the fact. (This may mean notification two minutes after Responders and Reactors or two days after the situation, if they aren’t directly impacted.)
When developing a plan for an emergency, leaders must consider what category groups of people fall into for each emergency. The category that individuals are listed within can change, based on the emergency.
It is imperative that leaders do not contact everyone (Responders, Reactors and Revisionists) at the same time. Emergency plans should always stage the information so responders are the first to arrive with clear access. For example, when parents are notified of an emergency, the natural response is to retrieve their children from the school, which creates a backlog of traffic, may necessitate crowd control and delays important response time.
How will I contact them? How the emergency notification is deliv- ered is important. Emergency notifications may be audio, text, visual, or sound.
Always match the method of contact to the level of urgency required. For instance, an active shooter emergency requires a quick response, which means bypassing today’s overworked and understaffed 911 sys- tem altogether and contacting law enforcement by radio for immediate response. Conversely, a weather-related emergency may simply require a lesser response, such as video board signage.
Match the gravity of the situation to determine how quickly a response is needed. Remember, all categories of individuals (Respond- ers, Reactors, Revisionists) do not need to be contacted the same way or at the same time, but officials do need a carefully considered, pre- determined plan for contacting each group.
What do I say? Develop a well-planned strategy for what the emer- gency information must convey. Determine the relevant information to convey to the individuals in each category (Responders, Reactors, Revisionists) during each emergency. Avoid providing an “informa- tion dump”, as this will slow down response time.
Ensure the information itself is conveyed in a standard format across all notifications. Emergency notifications should be pre-record- ed or pre-written.
• This ensures information is well thought-out, succinct and first
responders know how the information will be presented, which
saves time.
• This eliminates false or misinformation. Inaccurate details or
descriptions can delay appropriate response. NO information, which first responders are trained to work with, is better than

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