When an emergency occurs in a school and 911 is called, the first people on the scene are those that are trained to deal with those kinds of crisis situations. These are the faces that roam the community and are charged with keeping the members safe. If these are the faces you’ll see in an emergency, there’s something said for being familiar and with them and trusting them.
In a recent article, Cynthia Ryals, the principal of St. Alphonsus Catholic School, explained the importance of building a relationship between schools and first responders.
A solid relationship between a school and those that will be first on the scene should a crisis arise can bring peace of mind to many. Staff will become familiar with their faces and know who they can trust and allow into the school during uncertain situations. Parents can rest easy knowing that law enforcement and those prepared to handle a crisis are spending time with their children and keeping an eye on things. And principles can be confident that they have the support and cooperation of others that want to keep their community safe.
In her article, Ryals recommends taking the time to build these relationships early on instead of waiting for an emergency situation.
Ryals suggests a number of ways to begin building a relationship and stresses that it could take time.
A few of those suggestions include:
- Encourage Police and Firefighters to visit campus.
- They can use the parking lot, warm up coffee or use the kitchen
- Ask first responders what resources they will need to properly respond in a crisis
- If they are a regular site on campus, you can pick their brains
- Be open to their suggestions
- Even if it means possible changes
While these are methods that Ryal found success with, there are also other ways to build relationships with first responders.
- Attend Emergency Training together
- Learn together the best ways to respond in different situations
- Ask the responders to hold training sessions at your school
- These could include parents, teachers, and students
- What are the schools goals when it comes to safety? How can you help each other?
Schools can also utilize technology when it comes to getting in contact with first responders. There are multiple apps that will create a direct link between schools and emergency crews. Some of these include: Mutualink and Rave Panic Button.
Seeing a uniform on your school’s campus shouldn’t be a sign that something is wrong. Seeing them should be a source of comfort, and building a long and lasting relationship with law enforcement and first responders is a great way to be sure they instill that comfort.