Public School Insurance: Making School Security A Priority
Last month, we published a couple of articles on safety for educational institutions, including bus safety for special needs schools and the importance of school security as an integral component of risk management. Now that school is back in full swing across the country, we’d like to continue to touch upon different areas to help education insurance clients with their security issues.
In this article, we’re covering ways to help optimize a school’s notification system, essential when having to notify teachers, students, parents, law enforcement, etc. in the event of a fire, natural catastrophe (tornado, hurricane, flooding, snowstorm, etc.), shooting, among other critical incidents.
- First, make sure the campus emergency notification policy clearly states who has the authority to issue and approve alerts. Ideally, there shouldn’t be too many decision makers. The policy should also cover who actually issues those warnings. Is it the police department, security department, emergency management, the communications department or some other group?
- As simple as this sound, heed the warnings from the National Weather Service and relay these warnings to the appropriate people. It’s best not to second-guess the professionals.
- Be sure to educate the entire campus about your mass notification program, via e-mail announcements, new student and staff orientation, website announcements, newspaper/newsletter announcements, posters, sign-up tables, TV and radio ads, mailers/teacher/parent meetings, parent association meetings and more.
- Make sure your campus database is updated. Those educational institutions that manage their databases most effectively tie in their student enrollment and human resource databases. Additionally, these automated processes scan for students who are no longer attending and employees who have been terminated. Also, make sure your systems are integrated so that you are not using many different solutions to get your message out.
- Know in advance under which circumstances you will activate your mass notification systems. It’s best to define the situations where you know you are going to activate. Unfortunately, however, there have been countless of instances where the media has reported that campus officials don’t have a policy and rely on the circumstances to define how they are going to act. This is a recipe for disaster, as it will create delays.
Schools should also regularly review their entire security policy as part of their risk management and disaster planning to identify which areas procedures can be improved upon. Also, having a sound insurance solution is vital to an institution’s business continuity plan. At Caitlin-Morgan, we can help secure an education insurance program to address the various exposures school face in addition to providing risk management assistance. Please give us a call at 877.226.1027.