Prevention is the first step in creating your school’s security plan
When it comes to planning school security, best practices call for a layered program to address potential emergency situations. There are many different models of security management, but one of the more well-regarded outlines four steps: prevention (or mitigation), preparedness, response, and recovery.
In this post, we will be focusing on the prevention phase of the program. This includes actions that are taking in advance to help reduce the possibility of an incident occuring. It also includes actions that reduce damages from events that do happen. These can include injuries, loss of life or property damage. Prevention typically begins with an assessment of all aspects of the school. The purpose of this is to analyze risks and determine any potential hazards, address the threat level, and determine the best actions to take to prevent or mitigate any future threats.
When it comes to safety protocol, prevention is a crucial first step. The more vulnerabilities you can discover, reduce in severity or eliminate, the fewer emergencies you will have to respond to in the future. Your diligence at this stage will directly influence the efficacy of your school security program.
Begin by carrying out a security evaluation of your school to determine the best ways to mitigate risk. Note that you should put specific issues into priority order, as resource allocation will be important when it comes to budgeting for your security plan.
Securing the perimeter
To create a safe environment at school, you must first be able to secure the perimeter of the school premises. Some schools are fully contained within a single building with clearly defined boundaries, while other schools are comprised of numerous buildings across an open campus. It can be a challenge to secure an open campus, but it is one of the main priorities in preventing outside threats.
The most important factor in protecting your perimeter is controlling your ingress and egress, or entrances and exits, into and out of your campus. This can be achieved through a combination of physical barriers, such as fencing or walls, with limited entry points. Each of these entry points should be controlled so that you can screen all visitors to determine who might pose a threat.
A visitor management system is the best way to screen and track any individuals entering and leaving your premises. This technology integrates with watchlists, providing an effective tool to keep out threats to your campus. When needed in an emergency, the system can communicate effectively and instantaneously to your staff and the proper authorities.
Beyond visitor management, video surveillance cameras can be a valuable addition to your security plan. Cameras can help to assess threats on your campus, particularly when they have integrated technology such as motion detection, object left behind or facial recognition. They are also invaluable when it comes to identifying criminals after an incident has occurred.
Some schools have made the decision to use metal detectors at each entrance; you can read more about the viability of this solution here.
Hiring and training staff to prevent, recognize, and respond to threats is an integral component of your security plan as well. Employees with former or current training in law enforcement or the armed forces, background in an intelligence agency, or specific security expertise all make excellent additions to your team.
Many schools looking to improve security wonder if they should employ armed security guards; you can read more about this subject here.
Your team of experts should be supported by the rest of the school personnel. Your full staff needs to be well-trained on the plans set up by your security experts. Frequent drills will help ensure that you are always taking the right precautions, and that any actual threats are addressed swiftly and thoroughly. While these are complex issues, it is essential to take the steps needed to create and enforce an effective plan from the very beginning to protect the students, staff and visitors at your school. Prevention is the first step to creating a secure environment.
Confused about how to determine the best plan for your school? Let us be your ally and guide you through the process.
SilverShield Safety and Information Software offers the best visitor management system in the industry. In addition, when you purchase from us, our expert consultants will meet with you and recommend the best safety plan to meet your needs.
Want to continue learning about how to keep your school safe? We also provide ongoing training through our Virtual Academy program.
Robin Baker oversees the design and development of SilverShield, a cloud-based Visitor & Emergency Management System, and was also instrumental in ARMS, an anti-piracy security application for the safety of ships and crews at sea. In addition, Robin was also the founder of Learning Today, now known as iReady. Robin works with Schools, as well as Security and Software Development Teams internationally to improve the safety and security of schools today. American Heritage School of Plantation and Boca/Delray has adopted SilverShield and can speak about its effectiveness on their campus as well.
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