6 Ways to Prepare for School Emergencies
From severe weather to structural hazards, life-threatening injuries or security lockdowns, emergencies happen every single day. No matter the situation, it’s critical for schools to be prepared and provide prompt, efficient care in times of crisis. Here are a few ways you can prepare for emergencies at your school.
Know Your School’s Emergency Plan
According to SchoolSafety.gov, “Every school should develop and implement a comprehensive school Emergency Operations Plan that describes the actions that students, teachers, and school staff should take before, during, and after emergency events.”
This document helps reduce incident response time by setting clear expectations for everyone at the school: who does what, and when? Keep a copy of your school’s emergency plan near your desk so you can reference it at a moment’s notice and take swift action.
Keep Emergency Contact Info Close
If a student is involved in an emergency situation, you need to notify their parent or guardian as soon as possible. This is why it’s critical to update your emergency contact information at the beginning of each school year!
With an electronic health record (EHR) solution, parents can update or confirm their child’s emergency contact details directly in their student health record. Many schools require this during the back-to-school period. This makes it easy for school staff to access emergency phone numbers and trust that they are accurate.
The Magnus Health EHR includes a feature called Magnus911. This emergency response tool allows school staff to notify emergency contacts of an incident with one click of a button. They can also share pertinent health information with authorized emergency personnel and quickly access the student’s health history and action plans. Make sure you have a tool like Magnus911 to help you respond to emergencies!
Train School on Emergency Medications
Some situations require emergency, or rescue, medications like an EpiPen or inhaler. These may include an asthma attack, severe allergy, seizure, or drug overdose. In these scenarios, it’s critical to not only have access to emergency medications and equipment, but to know how to use them. There’s nothing worse than a group of people standing around with no idea how to use the AED.
This is why training is so important! A school nurse or health staff might not always be present or available to assist during an emergency. Anna Jette, School Health Clinic Nurse at Wooster School, trained her athletic trainer and school psychologist on medication safety and emergency medication protocol. This ensures that an authorized staff member is both knowledgeable and available to step in when a situation arises.
Similarly, most states require CPR and First Aid training for teachers. If it’s not already mandated by your state, consider hosting a yearly training and certification for all faculty and staff. This will cut down on the time between the onset of an emergency and intervention period, helping to administer quick relief and even save lives.
To learn more about emergency medication storage, training, and policies, download our eBook on Best Practices for K-12 Medication Administration.
Have a Follow-Up Plan
No matter the situation, an emergency is a traumatic event — especially for young children and adolescents. It’s important to understand that even a seemingly “small” emergency like a serious asthma attack can have a lingering effect.
Work with your school counselor or wellness consultant to craft a follow-up plan for students who have experienced or witnessed trauma. Be mindful about offering emotional support and resources to help them process the event.
Review Your Plan Annually
With each passing year, there are new trends and threats facing K-12 schools. View your emergency plan as an annual exercise — not a once and done document. If your school has a safety committee, schedule a yearly meeting to review your emergency protocols and update them based on new information and best practices.
If you don’t have a safety committee, consider establishing one! This will help you prioritize emergency preparedness on an ongoing basis and ensure it remains a top concern for your community.
Safeguard Your School with EHR Software
In times of crisis, every minute matters. You don’t want to encounter an emergency ill prepared or without the right information to make a life-altering decision.
EHR software is a powerful tool that can help schools respond to emergencies faster and more effectively with easy access to student health records. No more rifling through paper files to find a parent’s phone number or asthma action plan; authorized users can quickly pull up a student’s digital record and trust that the information is accurate. Plus: secure communication and in-depth documentation inform school staff in real-time about a student’s condition and relevant health history.
To learn how Magnus Health can help you keep your community safe, get in touch to learn about our industry-leading EHR solution.