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School Security: How to Plan For an Emergency

Several types of disasters can disrupt classes and endanger your people, property and assets in universities and schools. They include tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, toxic spills and mass shootings. These events have the potential to cause serious injuries or considerable damage. Fortunately, the right school security precautions can minimize the amount of harm they inflict.

Planning Ahead for School Security

When each new year of school begins, it’s crucial to review existing plans for responding to emergencies. An entirely new plan must be developed if a school currently lacks this document. Administrators need to write detailed plans and customize them for specific educational institutions. This planning exercise takes time, but it can help staff members quickly respond to emergencies in appropriate ways. Crisis plans shouldn’t be created by one or two individuals in isolation. Administrators must gather feedback from instructors, students, parents, information technology staff and campus security personnel. Local police and other first responders ought to take part in this process as well.

Getting started

…by assembling an emergency task force. Each participant should be assigned tasks to perform during a crisis. Examples include directing traffic and evacuating students. Collect telephone numbers and other contact details from these individuals, and give this information to first responders. With the help of security personnel, identify every possible disaster that could take place at the school.

Always revise the plan when practice reveals that changes are needed. Continue to carry out drills every six months or more often. Real Disasters In an actual emergency, students and faculty may need to evacuate the campus.


…the total number of students and staff on an average day and create a map of the school grounds. If disabled individuals are present, indicate their probable locations on the map. They might need extra help if a disaster occurs. Supply local first responders with this data. Emergency Drills After you finish assigning objectives to task force members and gathering the necessary information, it’s time to distribute an emergency plan to all staff members.


Next, the school can start conducting disaster drills. Always revise the plan when practice reveals that changes are needed. Continue to carry out drills every six months or more often. Real Disasters In an actual emergency, students and faculty may need to evacuate the campus. Be sure to identify an acceptable destination and have transportation available. Adequate communications also prove vital. A school can save lives by rapidly distributing accurate information to local media outlets, staff members, parents and students. Consider using an Internet or phone-based mass notification service. These systems make it possible to warn numerous individuals almost instantly. They deliver alerts via email, phone, fax and other methods. Multi-language support is available. A school employee can enter the alert text on a computer or contact the notification service by telephone.


It’s also important to have adequate public address systems in place. One of the latest disaster communication technologies is a large amplified outdoor speaker that mounts on a platform or pole. It clearly transmits voice messages across distances as long as 1,320 feet. When developing a plan, identify a succession of staff members with permission to use emergency communication equipment. Thorough planning and regular drills will help to ensure that a school can successfully handle a wide range of emergencies.

About Alarmingly Affordable

When it’s not possible to prevent a crisis, a quick yet thoughtful response often prevents injuries and loss of life. Other crucial elements of an effective plan include up-to-date technology and cooperation with local authorities. Alarmingly Affordable specializes in school security systems for K-8 and higher education campuses throughout NY and New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule an on-site analysis of your school’s security systems.

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Steven Capogna

Steven is the owner and President of Alarmingly Affordable, a Staten Island security company focused on access control, video surveillance and other integrated systems for commercial, institutional, and residential applications.
Steven Capogna
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