New Year, New (or Refreshed) School Crisis Plan
Crisis Plan. Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Resiliency Plan. Whatever the document name is, it’s the plan – the critical blueprint for guiding your school’s faculty, staff, and students through an unforeseen emergency.
School safety and security plans are mandated for New Jersey schools, but quality varies district to district. Especially if you’re new to your leadership role, meet your plan and your planning team where they are and commit to meaningful improvement. When relying on an incomplete plan, something as simple as how to turn off malfunctioning sprinklers can become a disproportionate risk. During a high-stakes emergency, that lack of proper planning can have disastrous consequences.
Luckily, the real-life lapsed plans we’ve encountered have resulted in more hassles than horror. But with so much at stake, there are plenty of reasons to check in with your school’s Crisis Plan. Maybe it’s buttoned-up and only needs a review. Perhaps it was assembled in a rush and needs to be reworked from the ground up. Wherever your Crisis Plan falls on the spectrum, here are six ways to make sure your school is ready to go in the event of the unexpected.
Tip #1: Use existing resources
Assembling a plan can feel daunting. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful resources to help you get started and see it through to fruition.
TIP #2: Gather Your Team
If time has passed since your Emergency Operations Team has convened, get a meeting on the books. Include the district leadership team (superintendent, principals, school nurse). Also include – if possible – your county’s Office of Emergency Management, the school architect and engineer, and any third party experts on whom your school or district relies.
TIP #3: Update emergency contacts on hard copies of the Crisis Plan and in electronic storage.
We’ve seen it too many times: because of changes in personnel, a system that’s down, or overwhelmed wireless calling networks, emergency contact information is either inaccessible or outdated on computers and on phones. Go in monthly and make sure you have the right contacts across all touch points.
TIP #4: Supplement your Crisis Plan with an Early Actions Grab and Go Guide.
Some schools keep abridged versions of Crisis Plans handy. They outline proper steps and procedures for more common emergencies – ie. emergency shutoff for water, location of electrical panels, and key maps including flood maps.
Tip #5: Update your evacuation plan
Buildings change. Make sure your facilities’ evacuation drills and signage are up to date, and reflect any updates.
Tip #6: Check your insurance coverage
Plenty changed and continues to change post-Sandy. Is there a chance your risk has been re-categorized and you need to update insurance coverage? Is your exposure limited, and do you have a solid understanding of your deductible – where it picks up, and best practices? While not technically part of your Crisis Plan, these details are just as essential to ongoing school safety.
In 2020, school safety is more important than ever before. Let AllRisk remind your district what’s required and what’s wise. Reach out to us for a complimentary in-service with your faculty, staff, and leadership.