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School Safety Drills - How to Plan for Evacuation

Updated: Apr 22


Empty school hallway of lockers during school safety drill.

School crisis and emergency preparedness are critical for every educational institution, and evacuation planning is one of its most essential components. 


As an administrator, you're responsible for developing a well-rounded evacuation plan to account for unforeseen events like natural disasters, power outages, fires, or any other emergency that may arise. However, creating and practicing a plan until it becomes second nature becomes difficult as more people become involved. 


You want to ensure all faculty and staff members know what to do in case of a threat, act quickly and responsibly, and stay closely in contact to report suspicious activity or the whereabouts of the students in their care.


In this article, we'll discuss the dos and don'ts of school evacuation planning and safety drills. We'll also cover how to develop an evacuation plan and allow staff to communicate effectively to ensure the best possible outcome and the safety of everyone involved. 


School Evacuation Planning and Safety Drills: Do's


Identify Possible Hazards and Risks

When putting together a school evacuation plan, consider the potential hazards that could arise and the appropriate response to them. 


Some examples may include: 


  • Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and severe weather)

  • Gas leaks

  • Fires

  • Chemical spills

  • Threats of violence or terrorism


Once these hazards have been identified, develop a plan outlining the procedures to follow in each situation, including evacuation routes, shelter locations, and communication protocols. 


The plan should also include provisions for individuals with disabilities and special needs and procedures for accounting for all students, staff, and visitors during an evacuation. 


Conduct Evacuation Drills

Conducting school drills for evaluation safety is one of the most effective ways to prepare for an emergency. Proper drills typically involve simulating a possible scenario, such as a fire, earthquake, or active shooter, and practicing the appropriate response. 


It's essential to set up school drills regularly to ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency. 


Many states require schools to conduct at least two fire drills each semester, but school administrators can determine the number and frequency of other school drills to ensure the safety of everyone in your building.


Remember that all faculty and staff must participate in school drills to ensure the response is coordinated and effective. Everyone should also know the designated evacuation routes and assembly points during the drills. 


After conducting each drill, be sure to review the results and identify any areas that need improvement. The review should include an analysis of the following:


  • Participants' response time

  • Communication

  • Coordination

  • Attendance


Based on the review, adjustments should be made to the evacuation plan to address any gaps or weaknesses identified from the previous safety drill.


Invest In a Reliable Communication System

Clear communication is essential during an emergency. Ensure all faculty and staff members have a system in place to communicate with one another during both planned and unplanned school drills.


vIDix Muster can help! This workplace security solution allows you to create and maintain an updated contact list of all faculty and staff members, which can be accessed quickly and easily. In case of an emergency, you can use vIDix Muster to send out mass notifications to all of your contacts, keeping everyone informed and up-to-date. 


Additionally, vIDix Muster can help you track responses from your team members, so you know who is safe and who may need assistance.


School Evacuation Planning and Safety Drills: Don'ts


Neglect to Review and Update Your Plan Regularly

Your evacuation plan should be reviewed and updated on a consistent basis. This is why regular school drills are an essential component of evacuation planning. They allow you to see potential gaps and obstacles that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth, effective plan forward.  


Just remember that when you incorporate any new changes or additions to your plan, all faculty and staff members must be made aware and given updated materials.


Conduct Drills Without Informing Local Authorities

Before conducting any type of school drill, inform your local authorities to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings. It's crucial to ensure that everyone is aware of the drill, so there is no confusion during an actual emergency.


Assume Everyone Knows What To Do During an Emergency

Although your goal is to train faculty and staff members to know their roles and responsibilities during an evacuation, mistakes can happen, people might panic, and things can quickly become chaotic. As mentioned earlier, you'll want to practice your evaluation plan regularly, so that it becomes second nature to everyone involved. 


Be sure to also keep parents in the loop of your school drills so they will know what to do if they're in the building during an emergency.


Is Your School Prepared for an Evacuation?

School security solutions from Ban-Koe can help you avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls of evacuation planning. We offer a comprehensive suite of security solutions, including emergency communication systems, mass notification systems, and access control systems.


vIDix Aware and vIDix Muster are two products we recommend to school administrators that help improve school evacuation planning and emergency preparedness. 


vIDix Aware is an emergency communication platform that allows schools to send real-time alerts and notifications to faculty, staff, and students during an emergency. In contrast, teachers can notify you and your security team about a potential threat taking place in their classroom or outside.


School administrator looking at vIDix Aware to view interior of building during school drills.


The platform can also be used to broadcast emergency instructions and evacuation routes to everyone in the school, ensuring that everyone is aware of the situation and knows what to do. 


vIDix Muster is an emergency response management tool that provides schools with a digital roll call system during an emergency. With vIDix Muster, teachers can quickly and easily account for all students and staff during an evacuation—whether it's planned or a real emergency.


Muster list to show last known activity of faculty member.

After ensuring everyone's safety during a drill or emergency, vIDix Muster allows you to compile a comprehensive report to identify areas where enhancements can be made.


Together, vIDix Aware and vIDix Muster provide a comprehensive solution for emergency preparedness, helping you quickly and effectively respond to emergencies while ensuring the safety of everyone inside (and outside) the building.



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