Imagine this…the fire alarm goes off but you know it’s not a drill. What happens next? Does your staff know who to communicate with and when, in order to get everyone to safety? Are there enough staff trained and prepared, who can lead the school to safety based on the plan that is outlined in that giant binder?

This scenario can happen at any time, during school hours or in the middle of the night. Whether it is a catastrophic emergency or a smaller contained issue, your staff will need to be prepared to deploy and facilitate the appropriate responses to each situation.

So the question is: How prepared is your staff to deploy the plan your administration painstakingly put into place?

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As the leading provider of emergency services for more than 100 schools, Joffe Emergency Services has seen the effects of emergency plans gone wrong. Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when it comes to emergency planning for your school.


Mistake #1 – Not drilling enough – not drilling correctly.

One of the most crucial steps in any emergency plan is to ensure your staff and faculty are trained, practiced, and prepared. Having a team member that does not know what to do, and when, may not only jeopardize the safety of your students but the outcome of the entire situation as well. Many schools make the mistake of not running through unannounced or surprise drills on a regular basis. This allows you to correctly gauge how successful your staff, faculty, and students react at different times - such as the middle of lunch or a school-wide assembly.

Mistake #2 – Not communicating enough – not communicating correctly.

Every person on campus can be an asset in your emergency preparedness program. This includes your security team, your faculty, and your students. It’s up to you to introduce them to the safety plan to create a supportive and collaborative environment. When your entire campus knows who is in charge it makes the chain of command quicker and less stressful for everyone.

Mistake #3 – Outdated or misplaced equipment.

Not only does your staff need to be trained and prepared, but the equipment needed for an emergency should be regularly checked, maintained, and in the proper location. As a general rule, classrooms and offices should have emergency backpacks for teachers and lockdown kits with emergency gear for students. In addition, your campus should have food, water, and emergency supplies for at least 3 days. Working equipment that's stored in the right place helps save lives.

Mistake #4 – Not updating your emergency plan regularly.

This is the most common mistake among schools. Often these plans are stuck in a dusty binder or in a stack of papers. Over the course of a school year, many things can change that will affect your emergency plan: staff members leave, equipment is moved or replaced, new structures are built, state mandates change, and much more. Updating and making sure your plan works is the most effective way to navigate any disaster.

emergency_forest_fireMistake #5 – Not knowing the risks.

The biggest threat to your campus may not be so obvious. Your community may not have experienced every type of emergency, but when it happens you want to be prepared. Having a trained safety consultant walk you through different scenarios that may or may not have materialized on your campus will decrease the chances of a catastrophic occurrence. Exploring all vulnerable areas of your campus and making a plan that everyone can follow will be your best defense against any emergency.

The good news is, all of these mistakes have a simple solution that does not require a lot of your time and effort. Working with experienced professionals like Joffe Emergency Services will give you the peace of mind that your community is prepared for any emergency or disaster. If you have questions or would like a complimentary assessment of your campus please contact us at (800) 913-6270.

Joffe Emergency Services has helped protect over 2 million lives since 2007. Founded on the belief that people can save lives through education and training, Joffe has become the leader in life saving certifications, event safety, and disaster planning.


Ready to learn more about emergency plans for your school? Watch the webinar presented by Chris Joffe!

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Topics: Health Trends, Education

Chris Joffe

Written by Chris Joffe

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