Great Ideas Are Everywhere If We Look for Them

This Indiana district incorporates some excellent emergency planning approaches.

While it is common during school safety assessments for us to find that emergency evacuation kits have become lost, there are ways to prevent this even in large campus organizations. The Indianapolis Public School (IPS) System issues these emergency evacuation kits (see below) to each school at the start of the school year. At the end of the year, the kits are turned in, inventoried and placed in secure storage until staff return to the schools in late summer. 


The kits have also been designed to be instantly recognizable to crisis team members but are not marked in a manner that an aggressor, such as a hostage taker, would automatically recognize if they took control of an area where the kits are stored, such as a school office. 

This is a good illustration of the kinds of efforts that epitomize the thinking of campus organizations that truly place a priority on emergency preparedness.

IPS has provided advanced level training to almost 5,000 school employees, including two full days of training for all department heads, building administrators and cabinet officials. It has also implemented NIMS training, developed a series of custom school safety training videos and are developing a second set of custom school safety training videos.  

Though the district completely revised their emergency operations plans two years ago, it is revising them again this year and doing another round of advanced training sessions for personnel throughout the district.  

The district’s superintendent has set a tone that emphasizes safety as a key to not only reducing risk, but to the achievement of the district’s main purpose of providing education. IPS has been continually improving and has been awarded two Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grants by the U.S. Department of Education to assist them in their efforts. 

It really shows when the leadership of a campus organization makes safety a priority in deed as well as in word. IPS is clearly such a campus organization. As with any other campus organization, this district has room for improvement. The difference is in what is done to address the opportunities for improvement that exist.

The care and concern exhibited by IPS for their emergency evacuation kits is typical of the priority that has been placed on safety, security and emergency preparedness. Fortunately, IPS is not alone in its level of commitment to safety. If we look around the country, we can be constantly reminded of campus organizations that expend great effort to continually improve their approach to the protection of human life.

Great ideas can be found if and when we look in the right places. The campus organizations that have made safety a core value are an excellent place to search.

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About the Author


Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation's largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at [email protected]. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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