With the increased level of active shooter threats across the county, many schools are conducting more school safety drills. According to the CHDS School Shooting Safety Compendium, in September 2021, there were 151 school shooting threats, compared to a three-year average of 29 threats per month.
School districts are enhancing their safety drills with drill management technology to conduct more effective school safety drills. A drill management system allows administrators to plan, schedule, and monitor safety drill performance. Using a drill management system to test your drill procedures and make necessary adjustments to school safety policies is essential. Conducting school safety drills with drill management software helps teachers and students feel familiar with safety protocols and allows them to respond immediately in an emergency.
Here’s how to improve your school safety drills with emergency management software.
Why are School Safety Drills Important?
In an emergency, fear and anxiety can take over, and practicing school safety drills can help students and teachers feel more confident. Jaclyn Schildkraut, a national expert in school shootings, stated in an NECN interview she believes school safety drills increase feelings of preparedness. “We’ve found that anxiety is lower after participating in a drill than before it.” This sense of preparedness will allow teachers and students to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency.
Furthermore, she mentioned that regular safety drills help students and teachers to recall safety protocols in an emergency. “We have seen across the board continued to build skill mastery, building that muscle memory, so if the very worst day ever comes and their mind goes blank, their body is going to perform the way we need them to perform to stay safe.”- PASS.
How to Conduct A Safety Drill with Technology
Safety Drill Training
Establishing school safety drill procedures is key to planning an effective safety drill. Administrators must create drill protocols that keep students safe and adhere to state law regulations. These drill policies should include evacuation routes, lockdown procedures, and a parent reunification plan. Before the drill, educate your teachers and students on the school safety drill procedure. This training should include safety experts who can provide instructional advice on your safety protocols.
Schedule Safety Drills
When scheduling your school safety drills, take into consideration the type of safety drill, location, and time. It is essential to practice your school drills at different times so students will know how to proceed in different situations. Investing in an emergency management system with drill management software allows you to schedule your drills throughout the school year. This software will send teachers, students and parents drill reminders. Each notification will include drill safety procedures, contact information, and the date of the drill.
Execute School Drill
Students and teachers should treat every drill like an emergency. Once a crisis team member sends a safety drill alert, all students and teachers should act as if it were a real emergency. During the drill, teachers can use the emergency management app to account for every student’s location and safety status. Take this time to test your safety drill procedures and look for any weaknesses in your safety plan.
Evaluate School Drills
Doing a post-exercise analysis of your school safety drill is crucial to determine how to enhance your safety response strategy. It’s important to ask questions such as, Did everyone get out of the building on time? How long did it take to lockdown the building? Local emergency personnel and safety experts should be involved in determining any weaknesses in your safety plan and providing advice on improving your safety drills.
Investing in an emergency management platform will allow you access to drill management software that will enable you to review your drill performance in detail. This system will provide data on your messaging communication and safety alerts. This data will help you reevaluate your current safety plan and ultimately help you save lives.
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