In the 2nd of our 2-part series to continue the discussion on disaster preparedness and safety management, we want to answer YOUR questions. We had such a positive response to Paul Timm, security expert and President of RETA Security, he was flooded with questions by webinar attendees. We’ll review some of those questions here.
Question: Do you feel school security officers should be armed?
Paul: If they are school resource officers, meaning they are police officers stationed at your building, the answer is yes. If they are contract security or even in-house security that is not a sworn officer, my opinion is I would rather they not [be armed].
If you’re going to go down this road and I know people can get emotional, you want to make sure you’re crossing all your T’s and dotting all your I’s along the way. For example, who would be permitted to carry a weapon; what do we do in terms of background checks and psychological profiles; and if they are not in the building, who will be substituting for them and where will the weapons be kept? All of these things need to be answered. The formula is Collaboration + Consensus.
Question: In regards to tornadoes and designated shelter areas, do you have any further information or statistics regarding not using a hallway [for cover] for information that can be used to support this recommendation to administration?
Paul: Yes, you can look at the video [RETA Security] produced. You’ll see in that video, the opening is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so that’s about as big of an entity as you can think of for support. Your insurance company should endorse [this decision also]. The video is also already on many state websites because all entities agree not to use hallways unless you have reinforced openings; rather use basements, locker rooms, etc. If you have more questions, you can contact me personally.
Question: What is your recommendation on how renters should access the building after school hours?
Paul: First off, they should sign some kind of security practice they agree to, such as an addendum to your rental agreement. Examples include ‘If you see something suspicious, here is who you report it to' and ‘You must give a list of potential attendees at least 24 hours before the activity’…I would make them go through some kind of orientation to safety and security, then I would give them an access card or FOB that has a very brief window [of access].
Learn more on the community use of facilities and how to mitigate risk.
Some other questions Paul answered:
- How many people should have access to the electronic access system?
- Our police department told us that if we have a bomb threat, there should be no communication at all…How should we communicate with teachers and students?
To hear Paul’s answers to these questions and others, watch his webinar recording today!
Do you have additional questions? Post them in this discussion thread in SchoolDude’s Online Community, the largest network of education operation professionals.