Recent events have generated increasing questions about safety and security both in and out of school.

Recent events have generated increasing questions about safety and security both in and out of school. It is imperative that schools and afterschool programs develop effective crisis and security plans that not only promote the safety and welfare of our students, but also protect staff and property. Preparedness is the key to security and safety, so students and staff must practice appropriate responses to a crisis before it occurs. Parents and community stakeholders should be made aware of the crisis-management policies, guidelines and procedures that your program will be utilizing during an emergency. They can also serve as part of your program’s safety advisory team.

Follow these steps to take a proactive approach to crisis management in your program or school:

  • Make an Emergency/Disaster Binder. Keep copies of all disaster and emergency information in one place, and update that information regularly. Store the emergency binder in a known, easily accessed location. This binder should include emergency response numbers and parent contact information.
  • Create a Safety Committee and Crisis-Management Plan. Convene the committee quarterly to discuss any changes to the plan, make corrective actions for any reported unsafe conditions that have occurred and to help develop safety training for the staff.
  • Provide Regular Training, and Conduct Drills. Provide crisis-management training to all staff, children, parents and stakeholders. Conduct regularly scheduled drills, and discuss ways to improve upon them during the safety committee’s quarterly meetings.
  • Designate a Safe Place. Designate a safe meeting place located outside the site and visible from the center. Each staff member should have access to an emergency backpack near the evacuation exit doors.

For more information, tips and helpful checklists, visit www.gsa.gov.