From the tragic shooting-incident at Sandy Hook to natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, last year was more perilous for American school students than most. But instead of worrying about the potential for your kids and pups to encounter harrowing events this year, take active steps to prepare them to handle any type of emergency they might encounter.
In last week’s blog post, we covered back-to-school safety relative to transportation, backpacks and bullying. This week, we will focus on how to prepare for and react to active shooter incidents and severe-weather emergencies. Whether your kids attend elementary, middle, high school or obedience classes at a public or private institution, work with them to make sure they understand how to BE SAFE at school.
Active Shooter Incidents
Authorities learned some important lessons from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that you and your student would do well to apply:
- Immediately following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, emergency vehicles were unable to quickly traverse narrow roadways to reach the scene because family members’ cars were blocking the street.
- Despite how desperately parents want to protect their children, they should never go to a school site immediately following an active-shooting incident.
- In the unlikely event your child’s school is involved in a shooting, wait for word from local authorities, who will tell you what to do.
- Teach your student to follow his or her teacher, who will be able to determine the best course of action. Your child’s safety depends on how well they follow classroom leadership. Kids who run off can become a target.
- Make sure your child knows he or she should never go looking for an active shooter. Instead, make sure they try to find cover and remain as quiet as possible.
- It’s difficult to convince JR that he shouldn’t run at intruders and bark. We’re working with him.
- Participate in School Drills.
- The Sandy Hook tragedy has cast a spotlight on certain school-safety exercises that, until now were not main stream. Sandy Hook has given rise to other safety measures — such as doubling down on counselor hours, installing more cameras on campus or prohibiting parents and the general public from walking onto the premises.
- Active-shooter drills could prove to Sandy Hook’s most visible legacy. If your student’s school offers active shooter drills—which they likely will—make attendance and participation a priority. If you place a premium on emergency preparedness, so will your kids!
- We do lots of doghouse evacuation drills at our house. I guess I like them because of my firedog training.
- For more detailed information about Active Shooter Incidents, check out this RJWestmore blog post.
Severe Weather Emergencies
Statistically more probable than active shooter incidents, severe weather is likely to affect your child while he or she is at school. Although details for preparation will depend on which climate the school is located in, here are some basic guidelines you should teach your student.
- Whether your child’s school is faced with lightening, flooding, thunderstorms, hurricanes, hail, tornadoes and/or severe wind, or extreme heat, prepare by providing extra clothes relative to the climate. Fur is a great solution to this problem…unless you live in the desert!
- If you live in an area that is prone to severe weather incidents, make sure you check the school website prior to sending your child to school. On some occasions, authorities will call an inclement weather day before school even begins. JR loves snow days.
- Stay abreast of the weather in your area. Whether you are at work, hanging around the house or running errands, pay attention to local newscasts and alerts which are available on most Smartphones. Do they call other cell phones dumb? Just wondered.
- Make sure your family has an emergency plan and that your children know what to do if schools close early. Parents/guardians are responsible for making sure their student(s) can get into their house safely if a school closes early.
- Double-check with your child’s school that your emergency contact information is current.
- For more detailed information about severe weather emergencies, check out the RJWestmore post.
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