Sharing your School Emergency Plans with Students

Sharing your School Emergency Plans with Students

Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association (WSSCA) – November 2013 Newsletter

[Reprinted with Permission]

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WSSCA, founded in 1968, is an association of professionals dedicated to the task of improving security, safety, and health in Wisconsin schools. WSSCA is a non-profit and non-government organization that includes administrators, supervisors, teachers, building and grounds personnel, health and nursing personnel, safety coordinators, school districts as well as private/public businesses through district, corporate and student memberships. The business of the association is conducted by a thirteen member Board of Directors and an executive director. This group is further guided by several technical advisors with professional backgrounds in a variety of school safety and security related fields. For more information go to www.WSSCA.org


Sharing your School Emergency Plans with Students

Recently, I had the opportunity to address an Intervention and Enrichment class at one of our middle schools. Their IE class is focused on safety and different aspects of safety. It was a great opportunity to share with students the “why” we have emergency plans in place.

One topic we talked about was fire drills and how they have evolved. Years ago we would just pull the fire alarm and everyone would exit the building. They would walk out as far as the outer walk…that was the plan. We would then use some type of signal to bring everyone back in the building.

Parents count on us to have plans in place and to keep their children safe while at school. While some thought that actually practicing these drills would be too scary, the opposite is true. Students today expect the drills and take them seriously. It is important for them to feel safe at school.”  John Williams, CSRM, Coordinator of Facility Services

Flash forward to today where we now have students reporting to a specific number line in a designated area. We then begin the process of accounting for all students, staff and visitors. This process is completed before occupants are allowed back in the building. Our decision to have students report to the same assigned number line each time eliminates the need for them to remember what or whose class they are in. It also takes out any confusion when students are passing between classes or when they are eating in the cafeteria. No matter where they are they report to that number line.

We also drill the accountability piece by pulling a few students aside to see if they are reported as missing. This reaffirms to the staff the necessity for the procedures in accounting for all staff lockdown students.

Another topic we discussed is how the Lockdown drills have evolved and the importance of why the drills are conducted. Parents count on us to have plans in place and to keep their children safe while at school. While some thought that actually practicing these drills would be too scary, the opposite is true.

“It’s interesting to hear how students feel about District safety plans and drills. It’s important to remind them that they must take ownership and embrace these plans in order to make them a solid and safe plan. John Williams, CSRM, Coordinator of Facility Services

Students today expect the drills and take them seriously. It is important for them to feel safe at school. As with the fire drills the more students and staff practice, the better prepared they will be.

It’s interesting to hear how students feel about District safety plans and drills. It’s important to remind them that they must take ownership and embrace these plans in order to make them a solid and safe plan. It’s rewarding and reassuring to hear student feedback on the “how” and “why” plans are in place. If you have an opportunity to talk to students about your plan, take it…it’s an insightful exercise. And it will make your school safer!

Written by:             John Williams, CSRM, Coordinator of Facility Services, Fond du Lac School District

November 20th, 2013|