Make Sure Your Crisis Plans Cover After-Hours Incidents

The wounding of two Texas middle-school students by stray gunfire highlights the need for after hours event crisis planning.

Many campus crisis situations occur during after-hours events such as parent association meetings, practices, sporting events and a host of other special activities. At the same time, many schools still do not have a crisis plan component to guide staff during after hours emergencies. These crises are often extremely challenging because many staff who have crisis team responsibilities are not on campus when they occur and because many participants are often not familiar with school emergency procedures such as severe weather sheltering, evacuation and reverse evacuation.

In this recent situation at Harwell Middle School at about 4:45, students and staff had to return to interior areas and follow lockdown procedures because it was not known where the gunfire had originated. School officials indicated that as many as 200 students were still on campus participating in a range of different activities when the incident occurred. This type of situation is very common in today’s K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning, which offer many different opportunities for students and community groups.

Fires, tornadoes, aggressive individuals, weapons assaults, medical emergencies and a host of different crises have occurred during special events on campuses across the nation. This incident restates the importance of after hours crisis planning. Re-evaluating how well prepared your campus organization is for these types of events and addressing any gaps can prove to be a wise move.

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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 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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