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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