School lockdowns and duty of care
For a school, a lockdown or evacuation situation is designed to reduce risk to staff and students while on school grounds. When time matters, it can help restrict access, control movement, and provide clear messages regarding increased dangers or risks, both internally and externally. In doing so, the threat or risk can be minimised.
The primary goal of enacting a lockdown then is to enhance the safety of staff and students during high-risk incidents. An additional objective is to prepare the school site for emergency services responses in support of that first objective.
Schools are primarily a place of learning and growth. However, it is important to be aware of possible risks or hazards that may exist around them. All education institutions have a responsibility or duty of care to provide as safe an environment as possible for staff and students to live, work and grow.
Reasons for a school lockdown/evacuation situation to occur include:
- An accident on, or near, school grounds which introduces hazards to the school environment. For example — if there is a potential toxic gas or hazardous liquid emission that has been caused through a mishandling in the neighboring streets/area.
- An incursion onto school grounds of a dangerous animal(s). This happens more than one thinks. In regional areas, or in schools that are backed up to bushland, the threat increases beyond simply a dangerous dog or animal on school grounds. There are multiple hazards that can occur here.
- A rapid onset of an extreme weather event or bush fire. Australia is prone to severe bushfires and extreme weather events/storms that can bring on lightning strikes, heavy rains, and rapid flooding. These often cause power outages, therefore having an alert system that has a battery backup or solar power can truly make a difference when time and safety are factors.
- An incursion, onto school grounds, of a policing action which may involve the use of force or violence. Over the last two years there has been multiple schools needing to be put into lockdown due to police actions. Causes include a prison outbreak, a police pursuit, or activities where police were required to intervene in the neighboring streets.
- A threat or direct act of violence being made against the students, staff, or school. Unfortunately, this happens far too often. Catalysts can include internal/external bullying or threats, angry or unhappy parents, parental custody disputes and student/staff conflict. Because they are so personal and common, it is imperative that your lockdown or evacuation system can be accessed remotely and activated quickly and easily.
- An act of violence on school grounds or nearby which increases the risk to staff or students. Whilst in Australia there is no similar level of gun violence compared to overseas, we are seeing an increase in violence with the use of knives and other threatening pieces of equipment. A lockdown and evacuation system not only alerts the staff and students of the risk and what to do, but the alarm can frighten an attacker from causing further harm and may stop them in their action.
- An act of terrorism in, about or near the school. Unlike many of the other reasons listed above, this one may be the most difficult to predict. Acts of terror like these are more than often the most harmful and where time and awareness truly make the biggest difference.
- Is your school capable of managing a lockdown or evacuation if any of these things were to occur?
- Can you activate your system immediately?
- Can you activate your system remotely?
Will your system operate if the school loses power, phones are down or has technical difficulties?
As mentioned earlier, schools have a duty of care towards the individuals under their roof. According to the ABC, 4 in 10 Australian school Principals have been subject to violence at work in the last year. Over 71% of schools surveyed reported at least one incident of violence or crime in their institutions in the previous year. Teachers are only human and experience fear, stress, and potential lack of awareness. Providing schools with adequate alarm systems for their needs and capacities is truly the best course of action to relieve the pressure of staying safe.
A new Wireless Alert and Siren system called Hazavoid™ can provide improved protection and communication for all schools, large and small.
Hazavoid is a low-cost, high quality Wireless Security Alarm System made in Sydney, Australia by ASX listed company Inventis Technology. Time is important in situations of high stress, therefore creating a solution that adapts to users’ needs is critical. Hazavoid offers audio and visual alerts wirelessly and remotely. Hazavoid is dependable in any environment. This is achieved by providing a battery driven, full rechargeable (mains or solar) The systems easily integrates with existing Fire Control Panels to warn and protect users seamlessly. Hazavoid can be wirelessly activated by pressing a fully portable hand-held or wall mounted remote activation device to instantly activate the system. It is low cost, security encrypted, modular, scalable, and flexible.
To improve your Duty of Care, consider Inventis Technology. Their staff can help with your specific design and layout for maximum efficacy. Visit their website at www.hazavoid.com for more information or clink the link below to view a short 2-minute video on the product.
Hazavoid is uniquely qualified to provide your school with a low-cost quality lock down and evacuation system designed to improve overall safety for your staff and students. That is why Hazavoid is the world’s most dependable wireless alert solution.
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