After Hours School Emergencies: Who is in Charge?
School safety and security incidents don’t just happen when class is in session. Will your coaches, sponsors and directors know how to respond?
During the school day, we as school officials have a plan in place if an emergency occurs. We work on our EOP’s, our relocation areas, our egress routes and our shelter locations. We train our staff, subs, parents and all other stakeholders on our emergency drills and protocols. But what do you do when the last bell rings and it’s just activities in the building? Who are you going to call when there is a safety or security incident?
Just as the plan is created for the school day, a plan must be put in place for after hour events. All schools, from elementary to secondary, have staff, parents, students, custodians and others in the building during non-school hours. It is just as important for this group to be given specific training and tools to respond appropriately when an incident occurs.
Take a look at your building. Look at the activities that go on before and after the school day. The people running these activities are the ones who need extended training specific to the facility. Here are some ideas you can use to get a plan going:
Athletics and fine arts will have differing plans dependent on their locations
- Athletics will need to know where to shelter during a storm, where to relocate in a major emergency
- Fine arts and meetings inside the building will differ on where they shelter, evacuate and relocate dependent on where they are located in the building
Train all personnel that come in contact with students and the school
- Facility workers
- Gate workers
Plan and practice
- Have a flowchart visual for staff to see and relate to
- Practice scenarios that are practical
- At central facilities (i.e., football stadium, coliseum, etc.) conduct a pre-event briefing to discuss crowd size, weather concerns, points of emphasis and other areas of concern
- Make a plan that is simple and easy to follow
- Take into account special needs assistance
It is important to train facility workers for a few reasons. One, they are the first line of defense. When they are given training on what to look for that is out of the ordinary, they become a huge asset to the facility in an emergency situation. Secondly, it allows transparency on what the district expects from their staff, and it is taught as common terminology across the board.
This is just a quick snapshot of what can be done to put a plan together. The main thing is it needs to be simple and make sense. Take a look at your facilities, and see who and what needs to be trained for these situations.
For additional information on this topic, attend the Campus Safety Online Summit on Dec. 5-7 to hear more from Robby Ball on his experience managing campus emergencies after hours. Ball’s sessions will help campus security professionals put plans together for before and after K-12 school activities to train sponsors, coaches, fine arts directors, etc., on what needs to be addressed, why it is important and putting a plan together that all personnel can easily follow. He will also cover the basics of emergency planning during the school day and how this planning can be utilized in other areas.
Robby Ball is the coordinator of educational support services, safety and security at Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and has a total of 11 years in education. He is a member of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) high school advisory board.
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