When a school safety breach occurs, there is a chance that certain precautions may have been overlooked. With that in mind, here are three best practices for school safety to help NYC schools get started on a security plan.
1. Record and secure all entrances and exits.
To get started, a comprehensive walkthrough of the campus must take place. During the walkthrough, every entry point in the school should be identified, assigned a number, and mapped out. The map should be stored in a place all staff members can access for quick reference. Ideally, the map should be stored digitally so it can be accessed via a school emergency management app like Ruvna.
Knowing where the entry points are on campus – both inside the building and around the perimeter – is the first step toward achieving school safety goals.
Once this step is complete, the next item on the agenda should be securing each entry point with electronic locks and access control. As for exits, they should be similarly identified/recorded so that security technology may be considered for them as well.
2. Identify all blind spots.
During a comprehensive walkthrough, the next priority should be to identify any blind spots throughout the campus. Are there hallways that receive little visibility during the school day? Is there any part of the building that isn’t well lit? What about staircases – are there any stairwells that are notoriously vacant? Often, students flock to these staircases because staff members don’t use them – but these areas are also school safety risks, as they may be used by someone who is planning a school security threat (particularly if that person is familiar with the building). Identifying all the blind spots on campus enables administrators to determine which non-entry points should be surveilled by video cameras.
3. Assess the front office.
As the first stop for visitors, the front office and its staff are often the “face” of the school. With that in mind, administrators must consider whether the front desk staff are using best practices for school safety. In NYC, school front offices can utilize a visitor management system (VMS) to monitor visitors and grant them access with smartcard badges or the visitors’ own ID cards. If appropriate, a VMS can be accompanied by a secure vestibule to add an additional layer of visitor management. Keep in mind that someone who is plotting a school safety threat will consider how secure the front office is (or isn’t) when forming their plan.
These first steps are just some of the best practices for school safety. In NYC, school administrators can use these steps when forming a new security plan or reforming existing security policy. For questions on these practices, contact POM Technologies.
About POM Technologies
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