Critical Issue #5: Response Uniformity Between Schools

There is currently a considerable lack of uniformity between schools when it comes to handling emergency situations. School districts have been leaving it up to individual schools to create their own emergency plan. This has created an insufficient top-down approach to emergency management in most school districts.

Instead of working together to create an integrated approach to emergency response, districts typically send out a notice every so many years reminding school administrators of local schools to update their emergency plans. As a result, individual schools come up with their own names for emergency practices and protocols. In addition, staff is not trained on a yearly basis as they should be.

Once emergency plan uniformity is developed between schools at a district level, proficient emergency care becomes possible. The objective should be to create a basic structure for district-wide emergency protocol that each school can work from. To demonstrate the importance of this, consider how police departments use article 35 to create a basic structure for how they perform their role in the community. They do not deviate from the plan, but, instead, create a structure that allows all precincts to proficiently work together. School districts will also benefit from this type of uniformity.

By using the same basic outline for an emergency plan, schools will still be able to include custom solutions to meet the unique needs of the school. For instance, a school in an urban environment may have different emergency requirements than a suburban school. However, the terminology used with each school’s emergency protocol will be identical to eliminate confusion and create a cohesive emergency plan. This way, children will become familiar with the same emergency terminology from kindergarten through grade 12, and school staff will be prepared to react to an emergency situation with a great deal of coordination and proficiency.