In case of an active shooter, fire, flood, lockdown, or earthquake, what is your school’s exit and release plan? Many schools have outdated policies that fail to account for well- (or ill-) intentioned parents, guardians, or familial friends who may use an emergency to gain unauthorized custody of your students. Not updating or rehearsing your exit and release plans can result in chaotic on-scene accountability problems and lasting legal headaches. Now is the time to start planning ahead.
“Prepare a kit. Make a plan. Stay informed.” This is the mantra of National Preparedness Month, which just wrapped up in September. Fresh on the heels of National Preparedness Month, schools across the country just completed Shakeout Day 2012 on October 18th – a day dedicated to enhancing earthquake preparedness.
As the leading provider of disaster preparedness for independent schools throughout the nation, we recommend building on the momentum generated from these preparedness events by reviewing your emergency plan with a specific eye toward post-disaster exit and release. Ask yourself the question, “What happens next?”
At minimum, your school should:
- Store printed emergency evacuation cards in a secure disaster cache*
- Develop a contingency plan for server outages
- Update multi-family contact pickups biannually, at minimum
- Define pick up locations parents will be asked to use for reunification
- Dictate a step-by-step protocol for the reunification process
- Indicate disaster team assignments and placements
- Test your plan with a full-scale mock emergency drill, including treatments
*A note on safety cards: Many schools we work with spend countless administrative hours logging and printing their own version of disaster cards. We’ve found an easier, more streamlined solution in Magnus911 emergency cards. The cards are generated automatically within the SMR system, completely removing that administrative task from the school. Magnus911 provides all vital student health information to first responders so treatment can begin immediately, and simultaneously allows emergency contact notifications.
Streamlining your post-disaster planning and putting these minimum safeguards in place will better the chances that your students and faculty will be accounted for and protected in a post-disaster setting. If you need any help implementing these steps, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.