Running emergency drills may seem like an obvious choice when it comes to emergency preparedness, and that’s because they are. The best way to see how your staff will react in an emergency and to practice various emergency lockdown procedures is to actually put them through that emergency. There’s a reason it’s obvious-it’s a tried and true method. When there is an emergency such as a fire, a few minutes can make all the difference when it comes to saving the lives of those inside the building. There is no time for mistakes, and no time for hesitations. So, a drill is a clear choice when it comes to preparation.
But, there are some very specific things to think about when running these drills. Specifics that could take valuable minutes off reaction times.
Who is assigned what job? Is your staff prepared to take on multiple roles in the event of an emergency? Are they trained to do so? Training a specific person to perform only on job can be a recipe for disaster during an emergency. If the person assigned to sound the fire alarm can’t be found, precious moments are built up between the fire and alerting the rest of the building.
Running through multiple drills with different individuals in different roles can help each person prepare to step into multiple roles if needed.
Use Different Scenarios:
Fires and weather are no longer the only situations that require drills. It’s important that your team is prepared to respond in any situation. Campus Safety Magazine offers a series of audio scenarios that can help you prepare for any number of situations.
Train on Equipment:
If you expect the staff to use any equipment during an emergency (such as door barricades or locks) they should be trained to use them and practice using them consistently. While Nightlock’s Classroom Barricade can be secured into place in one easy motion, it’s still important to be familiar with any product you’ll be using.
Throw Curve Balls:
Don’t go through the same drill over and over. Being prepared for one scenario doesn’t help anyone. Administrators running drills should be prepared to throw unexpected occurrences into drills to see how those participating will respond. Block emergency exits, obscure access to a designated meeting area…force staff to react and create their own backup plan.
Look for Issues:
While running through these drills, you have an opportunity to observe and study areas that may interfere with school safety procedures but often get overlooked. Do doors easily lock and unlock? Are windows that are supposed to open sticking? Are there cracks or breaks in walkways that could be a tripping hazard? Drills are a great time to track these issues and either plan to work around them or look into getting them prepared.
There’s no doubt that drills are the best way to prepare a team to face disaster, but they aren’t just something to be run and then forgotten. Pay special attention to these specific details and evaluate the response after and your team will be well on their way to handling an emergency situation.