When it comes to providing a safe environment for students and teachers, emergency communication preparedness must always be taken seriously. Unfortunately, we live in a world where our students are scared to be school. Teachers and administrators are brainstorming ways to improve their emergency communication, but is it enough? The following discussion examines the benefits of various communication methods, their impact on a school environment, and how effective they will be during an emergency.
Common Current Methods
Fortunately, innovations in technology have allowed school staff to keep in constant contact with one another. For many years the traditional way to get a teacher’s attention was through the school’s PA system. Although PA systems are still in use today, they are usually not the only method used to inform the school of an emergency. Alerts of an emergency are sent throughout the school via email and text message alerts. These mass notifications make sure everyone, no matter where they might be, will be informed of any impending danger.
Room for Improvement
Although these methods of alerting the school in an effort to keep everyone safe are more efficient than they once were, there is significant room for improvement. Something often overlooked is the need to inform nonpermanent staff such as substitute teachers. This is a serious oversight. For example, substitute teachers usually don’t have access to a regular teacher’s email, making that method virtually useless to them. However, they will often have their phones close to hand, making communication via mass text messaging a better solution for emergency situations. School administrators must find a way to include substitutes in these emergency communications.
One of the failings of these communication methods is the fact that witnesses notice most emergencies in the halls rather than in an office. Therefore, by the time alerts go out, it might be too late. The installation of “one-button press” emergency devices would provide a more functional way to send out these notifications in the event that a student or teacher sees an incident occurring in front of them. Such devices have been used and tested on college campuses where they have been instrumental in reducing the occurrence of crimes.
School safety is the number-one priority for teachers and administrators all across the nation. It is no secret that we have seen an influx in school emergencies, which has necessitated a new evaluation of how school personnel and students communicate with one another.
Here at the New Hampshire Review, you can read more about how crucial safety, improved communication, and student success is for our whole society. Together we can build a better world.