Spring is usually an unruly time of year, weather-wise. But with the recent Central North Island lockdown and Upper Hutt shooting, school communities around New Zealand are also seriously discussing emergency procedures beyond the realms of weather events and natural disasters.
Like the famous scout motto declares, “Be prepared”.
Encourage the school community with the notion that being prepared for emergencies will bring a sense of security and control rather than fear, during a real event.
However, it is easy to get into a state of complacency when nothing out of the ordinary happens over a long period of time.
Fire drills conducted half-heartedly; Emergency procedures glossed over when training new staff members; Discovering flat batteries in the Megaphone!
Although some may find practising drills and reading over emergency procedure tedious, being familiar with the protocol will reduce stress and help procedures to run smoothly during an actual emergency.
As winter draws to a close, it is an optimum time for reflection and evaluation on how the school community reacted to any unscheduled school closures, weather warnings and emergencies.
- Did parents block up the phone lines by ringing the school or did they understand that texts and emails are also school channels of communication?
- Did students know where to assemble when an earthquake happened during morning tea time?
- Did staff understand their responsibilities when the school went into lockdown or flooding made it evident the school needed to close immediately?
- Did you have reliable technology and processes in place to quickly reassure parents and communicate actions to take?
Dedicate Spring as a time to understand where your Emergency Procedure Plan is lacking and refresh school staff, parents and students around protocol and responsibilities.
Learn more about school emergency procedures and lessons New Zealand schools have learned, in the white paper ‘Kia Kaha! Staying in control and effectively responding to emergencies at school’.