I bet your thinking right now “we covered every emergency scenario in our school’s SEMS/NIMS emergency plans – there’s no way we missed something.” And that’s probably what many schools think when they completed their DMA 2000 plans, but after reviewing more plans than I care to admit, I have never seen a plan address this before.
Here’s another school lock down, but not for your traditional reason. A mountain lion had entered the developed area of Santa Barbara and was dangerously close to elementary schools. Local authorities issued the alert and the school activated their emergency plan.
Practice More Lock Downs
Lock downs are gaining more attention in light of recent shootings, but they are still not practiced enough. California Education Code and Public Safety calls for practicing emergency drills for earthquakes and fires. It may be time for the legislature to require lock down training too.
Building Better Emergency Plans
Many of us are in charge of putting together our schools’ emergency plans. And most of us think we have covered everything and that’s why we say it’s important to work with a team. DMA 2000 tried to address this team approach, but it wasn’t a required plan so many school districts never completed a plan.
When you are putting together your emergency plan, get a team together to discuss it. Try to bring in what we call the “oddballs, misfits and outdoorsmen” because these people have very different perspectives on emergency events and just might remind you of something odd like a mountain lion.
You should also keep in mind that things which are common place for you may not be for new students. Take the mountain lion example. My friend just moved from Saint Louis, Missouri to Ojai, California. There are no mountain lions in the city and certainly no coyotes, so you can imagine his surprise when his daughter’s dog was attacked by a coyote in their backyard.
This is a great time to review your emergency plans and set a schedule for some practice drills. Wilmes, LLC Risk Control Services is available to assist you in developing drills, running drills and plan development.