The 8 safety questions I would ask anyone who works in a school…

There are numerous surveys about school safety.  Few, however, inquire as to how staff become aware of potential crises in their settings – and few seem to be built to inform any type of construct.  I developed the following 8 questions for anyone working in a school.  Each question is supported by a literature review.  These peer-reviewed questions help school officials to understand the constructs of crisis awareness, crisis response and interagency collaboration from the perspective of staff.  You can ask 40 questions, or you can ask the questions that matter…

(A)     How do you proactively become aware of potential crises in your setting?  (check all that apply)

  1. I read articles or attend workshops about school safety
  2. I review my school’s safety flipcharts or crisis response documents
  3. I attend a school or district presentation about crisis preparedness
  4. Other (type in response)
  5. I don’t know
  6. I do nothing to proactively become aware of potential crises

(B)    During a school year, how often do you review your school’s crisis response protocols (such as flipcharts)?

  1. Once
  2. Twice
  3. Never
  4. Three or more times

(C)    I am expected to annually demonstrate competency of the crisis response protocols through a quiz or other type of assessment.

  1. Yes
  2. No

(D)   I have the opportunity to ask questions about crisis response protocols.

  1. Yes
  2. No

(E)    Are staff and students in your school expected to “fight back” if an armed intruder enters a classroom and attempts to harm them?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. I don’t know

(F)    During an armed intruder situation, are staff and students expected to remain in their lockdown area until they are released by law enforcement or can they exercise discretion and flee the school with their students?

  1. Staff and students can flee the school
  2. Staff and students must remain in their lockdown area until released by law enforcement
  3. I don’t know

(G)   Have any outside agencies conducted a drill, simulation or tabletop activity in one or more of your schools within the past 24 months?

  1. None
  2. Only law enforcement
  3. Only fire department
  4. Only emergency medical response
  5. 2 or more agencies conducted a collaborative drill, simulation or tabletop activity
  6. I don’t know

(H)   How confident are you that you would respond appropriately during a crisis in your my school?

  1. I am not confident that I would respond appropriately to a crisis
  2. I am somewhat confident that I would respond appropriately to a crisis
  3. I am very confident that I would respond appropriately to a crisis
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