Protecting your campus – regardless of its size – is a major task. On a daily basis, security and staff must do all they can to ensure the comfort and safety of the student body.
In this day and age, protecting a school campus means more than simply locking the doors or practicing for fire drills. Here are 6 things to consider when working to keep your campus at its safest:
Start with some basics: Guardrails.
While OSHA has a lot of specific rules on how and where guardrails must be used throughout walking and working surfaces, it never hurts to go above and beyond the expectations of the organization.
You’ve got a couple of choices when it comes to installation and implementation, too. In most cases, from a structural standpoint, you’ll likely choose to go with permanent guardrails throughout your facility as opposed to temporary ones. However, many times, temporary guardrails provide the same amount of protection and have the added benefit of being movable.
No matter your choice, don’t overlook the vital role these tools play in safety on your campus.
2. Safety Cones and Caution Signs
We often see orange safety cones marking off areas where we can’t park and roll our eyes. Arguably, we ignore yellow caution signs warning of wet floors more than we should. The point of all this is that these two systems are quite important to the security of any given facility.
Though they can be a bit of an annoyance, encourage your staff and student body to remember that they’re used to ensure everyone’s protection. Their prominence makes these warnings all too easy to overlook or downplay, leading mildly precarious situations to become more dangerous.
Don’t disregard them: Heed their message.
Safety bollards can help protect your campus in a number of ways. When placed in storage garages or warehouses, they aid in protecting various equipment pieces from succumbing to scratches and dents. Additionally, they create highly efficient physical protective barriers when placed in front of buildings.
On campus, you may want to consider installing bollards along sidewalk areas where parking is not permitted or along areas with large, expansive windows. In the event a driver loses control of their vehicle, the bollards will prevent them from crashing into a glass wall and critically injuring themselves or other passersby.
4. Campus-Wide Emergency Alert Systems
Since the days of widely available internet access, emergency messages have been sent to students and staff via campus-wide emails. While this system proved to be far more efficient than any process preceding it, it was still ineffective for alerting everyone of major concerns or important campus information.
Later, as recently as ten years ago, students and staff were encouraged to share their cell phone numbers with campus security to receive text messages in addition to emergency emails. Even then, not every student or staff member may have been using SMS on their cell phones and there were still holes in campus-wide information bursts.
Now, in the age of smartphones, Apple Watches, and other IT devices, getting the message out to the masses is easier than ever. Stay away from relying on a single source to inform your student body and staff of emergencies; use everything at your disposal. Send texts and use Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat or other social media platforms where you feel your message will be seen.
5. Student Wellbeing Programs
Campus safety isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. Student wellbeing has increasingly been ushered to the front stage on campuses all across the US. How are you handling these real-life issues for your students?
Partner with your campus counseling center and commit to serve students in these areas:
Suicide Prevention Programs: When there’s tons of homework piling up and exams to prep for, it’s no surprise that some students feel like they’re never going to escape the pressure. There’s always the possibility that other potentially deep issues are going on behind the scenes, making suicide seem like the only option for some.
Set up a hotline and encourage students to talk to someone they trust – a professor, a friend, a resident assistant, or someone in the counseling office – before taking matters into their own hands.
Designated Driver Programs: The stress of being a student comes with a desire to let off some steam. As developing adults, it’s easy for young people to get carried away at parties or in local hangouts and believe they’re “okay to drive.” (We can all make that mistake, no matter our age!)
Set up a designated driver program for students to use when they’ve hit the bottle too hard. If possible, make it free to use or keep it low-cost to stay in line with a typical student’s budget.
Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Assault Awareness Programs: Sadly, these programs are becoming more and more necessary on campuses across the nation. Women, especially, need to know they have a safe place to report abuse and where to draw the line between an argument and an abusive situation.
6. Emergency Drills
Fire and tornado drills shouldn’t be left in grade school! As students get older, they move around a campus more and more which means they need to be that much more alert and aware of how to protect themselves in the event of a weather-related emergency or violent threat.
Choose a few days early on in each semester to have staff review evacuation and violent threat information with students. Pass out building maps when possible and give students an opportunity to ask questions. As every classroom and building may have different points of safe exit or where to hide, it’s imperative that students have all the information they need before an emergency occurs.
Instruct staff to discuss protocols for fires and tornados as well as what everyone will do in the event of having an active shooter on campus or during a bomb threat or other violent behavior.
Don’t let another day go by if you’re not confident about the security and safety protocols at your campus. Make changes and implement systems now to ensure your school is operating at its best in every way.
Need help determining how OSHA-compliant safety equipment can help your campus? Contact Dakota Safety today to learn more.