Emergencies happen when you least expect them. Its always better to be prepared and not need anything, than to be caught unaware when disaster strikes. Children spend most of their time at school so it's safe to assume they have a high chance of encountering some kind of emergency while at school. The more prepared and educated our children are the less scared they will be.
A backpack makes a perfect go bag so why not have your child's school bag packed and ready just in case. If you make home lunches put that in their bag so if they get suck in the classroom they'll have something to eat. Pack a water bottle and a snack. This will help them stay focused in class as well as during an emergency. Depending on where you live the school year might be cold, its a good idea to pack a jacket classrooms can be cold or the power might go out. Panic comes naturally during a disaster, packing your child's favorite toy can help them stay calm. No one wants to think about a school shooting, but they happen at an alarming rate. There are a variety of bulletproof backpacks on the market. Tuffy Packs offers a bulletproof shield that is lightweight and can insert into any backpack, so they can still have the fun animal bags with safety in mind. Many school shooting victims were shot as they ran away, a bulletproof backpack just might save your child's life.
- Water bottle
- Lunch or snacks
- Favorite toy or comfort item
- Picture of your family with a comforting note on the back
- Bulletproof shield
Teachers have a challenging job as it is. In the event of an emergency, the more prepared they are the better they will be. Keep bottles of water in back cupboard out of sight but easy to access. Keep non-perishable food and snacks, these will be important during an emergency. The drill for most school emergencies is to lock the door and stay out of sight. Children will need to use the bathroom if the lockdown lasts for a while. Keep a emergency toilet bucket and line it will a black trash bag. You can use blankets to corner off a part of the room for privacy. Blankets can also be used to block smoke from a door or light from windows. Blankets are also great for a power outage in a snowstorm. Everyone has a cell phone and teachers are no exception. Teachers should have a way to contact other adults in the school as well as 911. They should also have a list of parent's phone numbers with a daily headcount of their students to make sure everyone is accounted for. If cell phones are dead, having a backup short-range radio for use in the school is a great idea.
- Emergency toilet bucket
- Phone to make calls or a walkie-talkie to keep in touch with other areas of the school
Note- as a parent, you might want to set up an initiative to supply all classrooms with emergency supplies. Utilize parent/teacher organizations, community councils, or simply talk to the teacher/principal.
Know your school's evacuation plan. All schools should have a fire escape plan. Familiarize yourself with it and know which exist your kids will be coming out of. Teachers should know the layout of the school and how to get the kids out safety and quickly.
Getting in Touch
The priority should be to get the children out as quickly and safely as possible. When they have reached a safe distance from the school they should call their parents. If the children can't get out of the school then they will need to call for help. Teachers should be in charge of calling 911, however, if the teacher is unable to call for help your children should know how to get help. Smartphones make getting help as easy as pushing a button. The Red Button app will instantly show your child's location and let you know they are in trouble. Smartphones are great, but they are expensive and easily broken. For younger children, a more kid-friendly phone might be best. Some carriers offer a watch phone that can call up to 10 people preprogrammed into the contacts. The watch won't be as easily lost since it is strapped to them. Teach your children how to recognize an emergency and how to get help.
Photo Credit: http://www.costellohse.com/blog/back-to-school-safety