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Schools no longer have to decide between devoting hundreds of staff hours and trusting an outside consultant to develop their plans
In 2001, Safe Havens International developed a set of emergency operations planning templates for use by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (nearly 4,000 facilities worldwide). These templates were so well received that Safe Havens created a series of similar templates for K-12 schools and educational facilities. The templates are now licensed for use by more than 8,000 American K-12 schools as well as dozens of colleges, universities and technical schools around the nation. In addition to our partner districts, our templates have been selected for use statewide in both Wisconsin and Indiana.
The templates are designed in a manner that is consistent with research on emergency preparedness and crisis stress. The work of Dr. Gary Klein tells us that the human brain works in a certain way under life and death stress, and there are specific ways that we can prepare the human mind to handle stress.
Our templates are designed to help provide school employees with what Klein refers to as a “base of knowledge” that can enable people to pull appropriate strategies from a “mental library” under stress.
The templates are not intended to replace the extensive planning process that schools must go through to properly prepare for any incident. They are instead designed as a tool to build on existing knowledge from best-practices and other successful school safety programs used around the country. The result is a stronger plan that is completed in fewer hours without skipping critical steps or cutting corners.
The school safety planning templates provide a framework, along with sample protocols and plan components, to give planning team members a solid starting point. We find that many schools fall into the trap of either buying a pre-made plan or having their plans written for them by an outside consultant with too little input from the school. We know from past incidents as well as litigation that buying a “plan in the can” with little or no actual development or input can cost lives (and funding) in the long run. The Safe Havens templates allow schools to develop their plans internally or with assistance while resisting the temptation to take an easy but irresponsible route.
The Indiana School Safety Specialists Academy, part of the Indiana Department of Education, adopted the templates for use by public and private schools throughout the state a number of years ago. As part of this licensing, Safe Havens staff provided 3 two-day train the trainer sessions to 300 Certified School Safety Specialists throughout Indiana who are now trained to:
- Use the templates for district planning and assistance
- Conduct tactical site surveys of school facilities
- Develop, coordinate and evaluate drills and exercises using the exercise package provided in the templates
Those who completed the training are also licensed to teach the Safe Havens Tactical Site Survey Training program in Indiana. The Academy staff report very positive feedback from school officials. The first project of this type in the nation, this program is still available today to the trainees and those that they assist.
After the success of the Indiana program, the Wisconsin Homeland Security Council, in partnership with the Wisconsin Technical College Foundation, licensed the templates and train the trainer program for all K-14 schools, colleges, universities and technical colleges in the state of Wisconsin. A total of 7 two-day conferences were held around the state of Wisconsin to train 700 instructors and 20 master instructors in the use of the templates and the delivery of the Tactical Site Survey training program. The training was so well received that Safe Havens agreed to train an additional 600 instructors at no extra cost during the seven statewide workshops.
Since that time, Safe Havens has developed additional plan components for cabinet level officials, a site plan template, front office staff template, pandemic planning template and other components.
For a free sample and more information on the templates, our Free Resources page features a few resources pertaining to the Tactical Site Survey Process, which is part of the template resource library. For more information, case studies, licensing and pricing information, please contact us.