The new school year may afford opportunities for school and public safety officials to review the types of drills that are conducted and how they are run. For example, many schools still lack reverse evacuation drills which involve practicing getting students and staff back into the building if a danger exists in the area. The reverse evacuation protocol is needed for schools to be able to protect students from threats ranging from tornado, aggressive animals, hazardous materials incidents or dangerous people.
Another important aspect can involve providing opportunities for staff to practice making decisions about how they will communicate in the event of an emergency. For example, it is important for staff to have a good idea of whether they should call the front office or 911 in the event of an emergency. It is surprisingly common to see situations where the lead administrator in a school assumes that employees would call the office for an emergency but simulations with staff reveal that many employees would call 911 directly. This could easily result in the office not being aware of an incident until emergency responders begin arriving.
The start of a new school year is an excellent time to revisit school level drills. This is one of the most important school crisis preparedness strategies and an excellent way to enhance school safety.