Safe Schools – Working with all Responders to promote a safer environment
Everyone continues to work towards making our schools the safest possible place it can be – it’s a team effort. Emergency Management works in conjunction with your local Responders; police, fire, and EMS – to insure that we will have an effective and coordinated response whether it be a routine response – or a disaster. Emergency Management participates with law enforcement and fire fighters in school drills to assist administrators and staff with proper drill protocol. Suggestions and feedback are offered to help our schools keep pace with changes in school safety guidelines and best practices.
School Safety Legislation – Public Act 12 of 2014
Since 2006, schools have reported drills to their local Emergency Manager. However, since that time numerous incidents of school violence across the Country started to reshape recommendations on school safety. In 2014 Governor Snyder signed PA 12 of 2014, which modified the type and number of drills conducted in our schools. The legislation also tightened up the reporting requirements so that parents had better visibility on the drills conducted in their child’s school.
The new legislation made a number of important changes, including:
- Number of required drills (K-12): 5 fire drills, 2 severe weather drills, 3 “lock down” drills.
- At least one of the above drills must be done “during a lunch or recess period, or at another time when a significant number of the students are gathered but not in the classroom”.
- Completed drills must be documented on the school’s website within 30 days, and must stay accessible on the site for a period of 3 years.
- Schools are required to submit their drill schedules to the County Emergency Management Coordinator no later than Sept 15 of the school year.
- County Emergency Manager must notify the local police agency with jurisdiction, or Fire Department and the Michigan State Police.
- Drill schedule information is not subject to public release.
- Schools are required to create an internal cardiac emergency response plan.
Prior to the 2014 legislation, schools had to rely on a disconnected process that involved sending numerous fax messages to multiple agencies for each school that was reporting. The old system was cumbersome, inefficient, and there was no way to track accountability with drill deadlines and reporting requirements. With the new legislation, schools are only required to send their notifications to the County Emergency Manager,who in turn then must officially notify the appropriate agencies. Starting this year, schools had a new electronic form to fill out for each school. Once submitted, the school received an email acknowledgement of the submission for internal compliance documentation.