The May 2022 school shooting tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas made headlines around the world. News outlet Education Week reports that 136 school shootings have occurred since 2018. And 43 school shootings occurred in 2022 alone.
School shootings are a significant cause for concern throughout the country with many solutions presented but few applicable answers provided. Although the occurrence of a school shooting is still considered a rarity—it is a risk, nonetheless. While preventative measures can never guarantee that a school shooting will not happen, there are steps that schools can take to increase safety. Here are six proactive tips to help improve school preparedness:
1. CREATE AN EMERGENCY PLAN
In the same way your school has an emergency plan for various situations, it is critical to have a plan for an active shooter situation. Create a detailed emergency plan for an active shooter situation and be sure to clearly and frequently communicate the plan to staff and students.
2. PREPARE AND TRAIN YOUR STAFF
Make sure your staff fully understands your school’s active shooter emergency plan and their role during an emergency. Instruct everyone to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity. Train employees in how to use emergency equipment in the event of a medical emergency. A thorough understanding of the plan and proper employee training will ensure that your staff is prepared to act quickly in an emergency.
3. REVIEW EMERGENCY PLANS ANNUALLY
Review of your emergency plan should occur on an annual basis, at a minimum. Make sure that all medical emergency equipment is stored in a safe location and that all your staff is aware of its location and how to access the equipment. Conduct regular and annual reviews of all your school’s emergency plans to ensure your staff is informed, prepared and up to date on all protocols and procedures.
4. ENHANCE SCHOOL SECURITY
Consider installing security cameras and secure access points, if your school has not already done so. A policy of keeping main school doors locked and installing a buzzer or camera system helps ensure that people cannot easily access the buildings. Make sure staff badges are up to date and every staff member has appropriate assigned access.
Such security features are important and helpful, but they can also appear unwelcoming to outside visitors. Do not forget to create a positive and welcoming environment by adding students’ artwork or colorful paintings to entry and common areas.
5. CONDUCT ANNUAL ASSESSMENTS WITH LOCAL EMERGENCY PERSONNEL
Schedule annual assessments with local emergency personnel to increase alignment between your school’s administration and local emergency personnel. Understanding the school’s layout will assist emergency personnel should they need to respond to an active shooter or assailant situation. Provide school blueprints and other helpful documentation to local first responders. Host emergency personnel on a regular basis to gain an outside perspective of hazards or risks that you may not have already identified.
6. ADD ACTIVE SHOOTER/ASSAILANT COVERAGE TO YOUR INSURANCE PROGRAM
Active shooter/assailant insurance coverage will fill in potential gaps left by your typical insurance policies. This type of coverage includes a combination of property and casualty coverage and complements the general liability and property coverage that schools already purchase. Active shooter/assailant coverage provides another layer of financial protection against this particular threat.
MJ is here to help. Contact us to start the conversation on improving the safety of your school by conducting a risk assessment and evaluation.DOWNLOAD PDF