Frequently Asked Questions & Knowledge BaseFind answers to the most popular questions we receive from school administrators
What results can we expect working with Altaris?
Working with Altaris you can expect to develop/acquire:
- Facilities that are safe and free of vulnerabilities and hazards.
- Emergency plans that are current, customized and invaluable guides to managing a crisis.
- Staff that are competent, confident and readily capable of handling a wide array of emergencies.
- Strong relationships with emergency responders allowing seamless collaboration and efficient response to your facilities.
- Ability to communicate effectively with media outlets to instill community confidence in the wake of a crisis.
- The necessary materials, supplies and equipment to manage virtually any crisis successfully.
- When the dust settles, the credibility and security that every preparatory measure was taken to limit damage and ensure a successful outcome.
- Total compliance with state and federal mandates.
- Creation of an internal culture and climate that deters violence, builds employee morale and develops strong confidence with the community.
How does Altaris work with clients?
While every client project is unique, below are some examples of how we work with schools based on their goals.
Goal: We want to know if our schools are safe and secure
Solution: Safety & Security Assessment
Summary: A key benefit of working with an expert consulting firm is their knowledge of:
- industry best practices
- common problems and solutions seen in other school districts
- what works and what doesn’t
- no and low cost improvement opportunities
Our safety and security assessments are designed to identify and re-enforce current safety and security measures in your schools while identifying improvement opportunities.
Goal: We want to determine if our emergency plans are complete and will be effective in a real crisis.
Solution: Emergency Planning
Summary: Our experience has shown that most school emergency plans:
- filled with unnecessary “filler” content making them overly complex
- contains procedures that look good on paper but are simply impractical in a real crisis
- lack key planning items critical to successful emergency management
- lack required content as mandated by state and federal regulations
Our emergency planning service is designed to perform a careful review of:
- building emergency plans
- district emergency plans
- quick reference plans
to identify improvement opportunities. Clients may either incorporate our list of recommendations or engage us to refine the plans completely. The result are a series of plans that are exceptional resources for successfully managing virtually any crisis.
Goal: We want to ensure our staff a well trained and prepared to manage a wide range of emergencies
Solution: Staff Development Training
Summary: By far the greatest investment any school can make in emergency preparedness is people. Keeping safety, security top of mind and the emergency preparedness skills of all staff sharp is critical. Our staff development training and tabletop workshops are customized to the each audience including:
- district emergency teams
- building emergency teams
- general faculty
- custodial staff
- support staff
- transportation workers
Training programs focus around our Simple Six(tm) response protocols, which greatly simplify prevention and management of critical incidents. Tabletop exercise workshops follow the training programs and are designed to allow participants to put their skills to work in realistic scenarios.
Why is it necessary to prepare if we can just call 911?
A big misconception by many districts is that emergency responders will simply manage a crisis within their schools. The reality, however, is that “it is your building.” While most emergency responders possess tactical expertise, they will be relying upon you to make critical intervention decisions as well as collaborate with them using federal ICS (Incident Command System) protocols.
School officials need to be aware that emergency response resources vary tremendously from community to community. Your district may be dependent upon a small all volunteer agency that lacks both physical resources and the necessary expertise to respond timely and effectively in an emergency. When the dust settles, clients are able to answer the tough questions regarding their level of preparedness and the manner in which a crisis was managed.
Why do we need a consultant if we have safety and/or security people on staff?
Experts in the Field not the Facility
While staff personnel usually possess expert knowledge of their own facility(s), they often lack the diverse insight that an Emergency Preparedness Consultant can offer. Altaris consultants offer expert solutions derived from work with a wide range of schools, staffs, students and communities. Utilizing the latest techniques derived from current incidents and trends, clients are assured they are getting optimal solutions.
Business Best Practice
The use of outside consultants has been a best practice of schools and other businesses for decades. Not just because of the expertise they posses, but the fresh and independent view they provide. Managing 100% of your operations in house with no external audit is the equivalent of operating in a vacuum and can have serious consequences. Your district hires an accounting firm to audit their books each year because it is a recognized best practice. Not because administration feels your finance department is inept.
Cost Effective Specialized Knowledge
Most budgets and head counts don’t allow for continued education and training in current standards and best practices for specialties like workplace violence, suspicious packages, executive protection, haz-mat spills, background checks, sheltering-in-place, premises liability reduction, access control, crisis communications, facility and site clean-up, and more—leaving you needlessly exposed to risk and business interruption. Present-day threats and responses require specialized knowledge. Hiring an outside firm is the most cost effective way to supplement your in-house capability with that specialized knowledge.
What are the mandates we must comply with?
Mandates vary from state to state however virtually all states require schools to have detailed emergency plans at both the school and district level. Plans must contain detailed information on how to deal with a variety of crisis’ and must be updated annually. There are also requirements for continuing education. OSHA has it’s own regulations regarding Emergency Action and Fire Prevention plans. An Altaris consultant can help you to understand your states individual requirements and your current level of compliance.
What is our district’s liability for failing to reasonably plan?
In addition to liability for intentional harm caused by a person or entity, there is also liability for any failure to act under certain circumstances. As educators, you have a legal obligation known as “duty of care” to those who you have accepted responsibility which includes your students. Failing to prevent what is considered “foreseeable circumstances” can constitute negligence and tremendous civil liability. Such issues as bullying prevention, mitigating physical hazards and comprehensive emergency planning are all responsibilities of a school.