Protecting schools has always been a hot-button issue. It’s a topic of debate that, at the conceptual level, seems like a no-brainer. However, reality doesn’t seem to mesh with optimism in this context. The holiday breaks for K-12 schools are not as long as the ones enjoyed by college students. But that doesn’t mean this time off is going to be time wasted. Here are some suggestions for procuring affordable school safety measures.
New Standard Operating Procedures
One of the best ways to revise your old SOPs is to conduct a site safety assessment. While this doesn’t sound like a substitute for more substantial changes, it’s a step in the right direction. A multidisciplinary team and approach to assessing your campus security levels are essential. Lock all of the doors that lead in and out of the building. Then institute a “no propping” policy and enforce it so that it is taken seriously. Add unexpected variables to your regular fire drills – such modifications include making emergency exits inaccessible and running reverse evacuations. Delayed evacuations and situational awareness are just as critical to focus on in addressing these challenges. Use the WIN (What’s Important Now?) approach towards updating bus evacuation drills.
Using announced active shooter drills (and unannounced ones) as another so-called “stress test” of how prepared everyone in your school is for such events. This progression is important because the “level 5” drills are extremely stressful and can be terrifying. Other factors to incorporate into your planning include single-point-of-entry and the improved training of substitute teachers.
Hardening the Exterior of the Building
Another crucial factor in enhancing school safety is upgrading physical security in and around the outside of the school itself. Surveillance cameras and monitors are examples of integrated security technology that are well worth investing in, even if at first they seem pricey. They will pay dividends. Update your visitor management and control system. Signing in and out sounds outdated (especially if it’s only via a pen and a binder full of timesheets). Reconsider the associated protocols (identification, contact information, escorts, among others). Also, consider the merits of temporary ID badges and bag checks.
Reinforcing the Interior of the School
Finally, you’ll also have to consider cost-reasonable ways to reinforce the school’s interior more effectively. How many locked doors are present in the vestibule? The layered entry tactic matters; use two sets of doors, at least. How is the floor plan outlined? Think about signs leading to classrooms, offices, restrooms, and common areas such as the cafeteria or the auditorium to answer this question. And lastly, are the employees trained in how to confront intruders or escort outsiders? If not, weigh the options you have for providing this training.
TRUST THE PROFESSIONALS AT ARK SYSTEMS
Located in Columbia, Maryland, ARK Systems provides unsurpassed quality and excellence in the security industry, from system design to installation. We handle all aspects of security with local and remote locations. With over 30 years in the industry, ARK Systems is an experienced security contractor. Trust ARK to handle your most sensitive data storage, surveillance, and security solutions. Contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well!