KNOWING YOUR SCHOOL FACILITY IS KEY TO SCHOOL PREPARENESS
Schools and other educational institutions are designed to enhance learning. This learning must take place in a safe and secure environment. Knowing how to get into and out of your school is very important from a school preparedness perspective. Keeping unwanted people out of your school is important. Knowing how to depart your school as an individual or with a group (class, parents, visitors) is also important. These concerns could come into play during the school day or during an extracurricular activity at your school. These access concerns could come into play during an outside activity (gym, sporting event, graduation ceremony, etc.). Departing your school facility during an evacuation or having to quickly enter school (reverse evacuation) are important in a variety of school incidents.
How do people gain access into and out of your school? It is a simple question, but a very important one.
- What doors allow what access? Teachers and grown ups come in certain doors. Students may have some alternate entry points to gain entrance. Delivery personnel may use other entrances to make deliveries or make pick ups. Some exit ways are meant for emerencies only, but are they used for non-emergencies as well. Who has keys for these doors?
- How about windows? I heard a student (from a local school) talk about a ground floor window with a ledge that they used to "sneak out of the class room" when the teacher wasn't paying attention. How would you use the window in the room you are in as an exit if you were unable to use the door? How could you get through the window?
- How about access from the roof? If someone gets on your schools roof can they get into the school? (See the story below)
- How about subterranean access? Are there any underground entrances to your school? Sewage lines, crawl spaces, utilitiy service spaces, etc. Some schools were used as bomb shelters during the Cold War. Is there a crawl space beneath your classroom.
- Are there any repairs or renovations being done to your school facility which creates school access issues? In Aug 2011, a 15 yr old boy was found dead in the chimney of a junior high school (Ry H. Mann Internediate School in Brooklyn) when he and a number of teenage boys climbed on the school roof and there was scaffolding in the front of the building. Link: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=8299683
You do not want to wait until their is a crisis to "react" to trying to enter or exit your facility when you least expect it. The head facility manager and janitors generally know the facility, but the Principal, Housemasters, Teachers, SROs all need to know how to get into and out of the school facility regardless of where they are and what they are doing.
Live may depend upon it.