January 25, 2017

6 Innovative Ways Schools are Preparing for Terror Situations

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As we move into the future, uncertainty plagues almost everything in our ordinary lives.

While previous generations could marvel at the wonders of technology and see the upcoming years with unbridled optimism, lately it seems like we have nothing but murky projections.

Nowhere is this more evident than in schools.

It’s a sad reality that these pillars of education are not as safe as they once were, but that is the nature of the world in which we live.

While school shootings are about as prevalent as they ever have been, one thing that administrators are preparing for is terror attacks.

Before we continue, we want you to know that our purpose here is to educate you so that you can be better prepared for any situation that arises.

It’s easy to see headlines like this and be gripped with fear, but knowledge is the best method for combatting it.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be much more optimistic.

Despite the fact that we are looking at harrowing modern times, let’s look at this article as a proactive stance on a harrowing issue.

In fact, with such attention paid to these kinds of situations, schools are fast becoming safer and more secure.

Let’s see how schools are managing to do that.

 

SMS and Emergency Notifications

As more kids get cell phones and mobile devices from their parents, it’s never been easier to stay in contact with your child at all hours of the day.

Schools are tapping into this level of connectivity by creating emergency notification systems that can alert all students and parents of any situation that happens.

By using SMS messages, it saves a lot of time.

Best of all, messages could alert everyone connected to the school when there is a problem without alerting anyone else (if covertness was necessary).

Using various templates, the schools can notify everyone on their phone list within seconds, making sure that everyone is in the loop.

Mobile Text Alerts has worked with countless schools to help set up alerts if the event of any emergency. 

(Related: Click here for a free sign up to try text alerts for your school)

 

The Sleeve

In modern day schools, classrooms are forbidden from having locks on the inside.

The reason for that is to enable students and teachers to evacuate quickly and without impedance.

Unfortunately, that also means that anyone could potentially get in without any problems unless the teacher exposes him or herself to lock the door from the outside.

There is a new solution called “The Sleeve.”

It was invented by Daniel Nietzel, who is a teacher in Muscatine, Iowa.

He along with several other teachers and faculty members at the school developed The Sleeve, and it seems to be working perfectly.

The Sleeve is a metal piece that fits over the hinge of the door.

By placing it on there, the door is effectively locked as the hinge won’t expand.

Additionally, because the Sleeve is made of 12-gauge carbon steel, there is no chance of it breaking.

Best of all, it can be installed in seconds and it won’t budge.

It costs $65 and schools around the country have invested in it.

Updated Drills

While new inventions are all well and good, it doesn’t beat good old fashioned preparedness.

With recent high-profile shootings like Sandy Hook on everyone’s mind, schools are updating their drills and evacuation procedures to be more concurrent with modern events.

Instead of a standard fire drill, some districts are rehearsing “active shooter drills” with varying degrees of success.

According to research, having multiple drills and evacuation plans on hand mean that the failure rate drops significantly.

 

Security Cameras

Another old-fashioned solution to a modern-day problem is to have better surveillance camera systems in place.

Most school districts already have a full-time security staff on site, so having better cameras means that they can stay on top of situations as they arise, rather than being caught off guard.

Recently, many schools have invested money into upgrading old cameras and making them much more useful, both in placement and quality of the images.

By doing this, they can spot a potential problem and address it before it gets out of hand.

Best of all, it works for all kinds of situations, from school fights to a fire or a medical emergency.

 

Restricted Access

If you’ve ever tried to go to a school in the last couple of years, odds are that you were unable to get past the front door.

To help protect the kids as much as possible, schools are making it harder for strangers to get inside.

In many cases, you have to wait for a security guard to escort you and you need proper identification before you can step foot into the hallways.

In more extreme cases, schools will not allow anyone who hasn’t already been cleared (such as parents or guardians) enter the school.

That means you will have to wait outside as staffers handle whatever business you were there for, such as dropping off a package or picking up a student.

Again, this solution has practical applications beyond terrorism, as it helps prevent school shooters or abductors from getting on site.

 

PALS

As we saw with the Sleeve above, teachers can be quite innovative when personal safety is on the line.

Another educator named Celisa Edwards developed a simple solution to keep doors closed in the event of a terror attack or intruder.

While it does require some extra planning, her system is more cost-effective and just as efficient.

It’s called the Portable Affordable Lockdown System (PALS), and it is a metal wire with two loops.

You wrap the wire over the door handle and then place the other end over a hook that has been installed into the wall.

Within seconds, the door is not opening for anyone who tries to get inside the classroom.

Best of all, because it’s flexible, it can be stored more neatly than something as big and bulky as the Sleeve.

Every day, schools are working towards making themselves safer for children.

Even though we are dealing with problems that have never happened before, the ingenuity of our spirit and the resilience of our resolve means that we will always find solutions.

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