While details are still emerging, it’s worth looking at what Florida schools must do to prepare for an on-campus emergency.
The Florida Department of Education has a statewide policy outlining how school’s should prepare and respond to an on-campus emergency. The policy was approved in 2003 and has been updated since.
In order of importance, the policy requires schools to plan for:
- Access control — Including reducing the number of ways into the school, adding locks, barriers or fencing, converting plain clothes school officers to more visible uniformed officers, running background checks, requiring visitors to sign in and other ways to limit access to campus.
- Emergency equipment — Providing protective equipment to school officers, making sure communications work and that there is a backup system and making sure emergency equipment is working and maintained.
- Training — Provide training for administrators, teachers and staff for how to recognize and respond to emergencies, including weapons of mass destruction.
- Communications and notifications — Schools must have a plan on how to communicate with district staff as well as how to notify parents and students about the situation and how to respond.
- Coordination — Schools must plan to work with local law enforcement and other agencies in the event of an emergency.
The Florida Department of Education has also drawn up a checklist for schools and districts to make sure they have answered every question.
You can read that checklist (pages 7-10 deal with requirements for emergency response procedures) and the state security plan policy below.