Critical Issue #11: Integration with First Responders

Although school districts are required by Project SAVE to meet with first responders annually, most schools do not follow through with these requirements. Unless the first responders within the school district are on top of setting meetings with schools, integration with the district’s first responders are typically left by the wayside. Instead of the local fire department, police department, and other first responders reaching out to the schools, schools should be contacting their district’s first responders to schedule annual integration meetings.

In many cases, local first responders show up at schools in emergency situations with little understanding of how the school handles emergencies. Having clear knowledge of regulations such as where children are sent in the case of emergency will allow first responders to handle an emergency situation much more effectively.

An emergency situation is not the time for first responders to familiarize themselves with a school’s emergency procedures. For the safety of everyone involved, it is imperative to schedule annual integration meetings with local first responders such as the local police department and fire department so that emergencies can be handled in the most proficient manner possible.

It’s an unfortunate fact that, unless a school has SROs (school resource officers) on staff, most do not ensure yearly integration with first responders. School administrators need to turn this trend around by scheduling annual meetings with all essential first responders. School administrators should ask first responders to review the school’s emergency plan. By asking a representative from each first responder group to pay a visit to the school, the representative can properly address any inadequacies with emergency plans and/or update the emergency plan as needed. Annual integration meetings will also ensure that the school and all first responder groups are on the same page should an emergency situation arise. First responders will then be familiar with the emergency plan set forth by your school so that emergency procedures are handled efficiently.