This post was first published on 24th September, 2016. I have edited it, updated it, added more info and access to a 5-day email course and republished it!
I initally started this 7-day challenge titled BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY TIPS on my Facebook group called CHILD & SCHOOL SAFETY in 2016. It now serves as a termly reminder just as schools resume for a new term. It also forms part of a service/product I provide called BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY WORKSHOP.
It is called a challenge because everyday on resumpion week, we expect you to take action. So as you read, try to implement some of them in your schools or workplace. This post is designed to deal with one challenge a day but some require more time so go at your own pace but try to complete all the challenges. Any questions or support required? Then feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHALLENGE 1: Plan your school trips.
Do your children go to school unescorted? Or do you hurry to drop them off then rush off to work? Do you operate transport services in your schools?
What are your rules and your policy around pick-up and drop-off?
Make sure the driver, you and your child/children know both the main and alternate routes. In an emergency, roads can be blocked and it’s important to have a backup plan to avoid stress and confusion.
When driving and one gets confused or stressed, you lose concentration and that could lead to an accident. Stay calm and focused! Teach children who go to school unescorted to stick to the plan always and refuse free rides even by people they know.
Even when the children get picked up or dropped off by the bus, how does the school and parent get assurance that the children are in the right hands and safe? Some rely on technology. Some keep a manual register.
Whichever it is that you practice, always make sure that the appointed adult releases the children to the school’s recognised driver. Drivers also must ensure children are released to only adults assigned by the parents and recognised by the school.
CHALLENGE 2 – Be Emergency Ready (Includes a free template)
Emergencies are of various kinds and happen when you least expect. Fires, violent attacks, medical emergencies and the likes occur and most times people who experience them are unsure of what to do. Many have died just because no one knew how to apply first aid.
One of the most important things you should do this term if you haven’t already, is to get you and your staff trained on first aid and emergency procedures. We are happy to do this for you. Every school and business system have written emergency plans and procedures.
You should include the emergency plans and phone numbers in the school’s handbook and have a brief one-page plans pasted in classrooms, staff room, every room you use and along the corridors/hallways – places where they can easily be seen.
Getting this sorted quickly will give everyone the confidence to act quickly in emergencies. This can help reduce number of (or prevent) casualties. Make sure everyone learns the school’s emergency procedures and practices them often.
Here is an Emergency Planning Form to guide you.
Feel free to download, edit and use it. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment here.
CHALLENGE 3 – Involve your customers (parents!)
One challenge many schools have is lack of support or understanding from parents. Many put in place measures that seem to be disregarded by parents.
How can you solve this “problem”?
What about getting parents involved and sentitising/educating them on many of the processes, rules and regulations of your school. People like to know why certain things are required of them so don’t just say what, say why.
Let parents know that you want their opinion on how to maintain or increase Safety in the school. They can form a whistle blowing group or partake in planning for emergencies or organise an interactive session with teachers since they are the primary “carers” of their kids when they are in school.
Parents usually worry about the Safety of their children so involving them shows that you have their interests at heart. Plus it gives them peace of mind knowing their children are in safe hands.
You can add this to your agenda for your upcoming PTA meeting! Get discussing!
This is one of the reasons why our yearly SAFEtagious problem is designed to attract parents, educators and the children.
CHALLENGE 4 – Get your students involved in Safety.
This is my favourite part of working with schools – educating children about safety and getting them involved!
One thing we do at my school is a Safety week. We try to make it interactive and as educational as possible. For example, we assign some safety topics to each class and ask them to work in groups, do their research and present their findings to the entire school.
This helps them with research skills, team work, presentation, confidence and public speaking. It also ensures the children learnt about Safety on their own. There is no limit to what they can learn – from fire safety to food safety, bullying, first aid and lots more!
What one learns on their own especially by doing, stays with them longer. So give it a try and come back here to tell us how it all went!
CHALLENGE 5 – Get everyone involved in First Aid.
This is a highly ignored necessity in schools and many workplaces. It isn’t just enough to have a first aid box. You need first aid trained staff. Ideally all your teachers and nannies should be first aid trained. You never know when a medical emergency will arise. What if the designated first aider or school nurse is away at this time?
Remember time is of the essence when it comes to saving lives. Imagine someone slumps – will you know how to check breathing and possibly perform CPR or even put the person in the recovery position? Without oxygen, one can become brain dead in minutes! Remember Bobbi Kristina (Whitney Houston’s daughter?). She was found possibly too late and suffered irreversible brain damage.
How do you treat wounds or bleeding or electric shock or…..
Here is what you need right away:
1. The First Aid box.
Every school and workplace should have a First Aid box. Children tend to get hurt during play time so I am sure you have been giving first aid treatment in your schools and are now short on supply. Have you restocked for the term? Put that on your to do list.
What do you think? Check out this image which highlights what should go in your First Aid Box!
2. First Aid Training.
Plan to get all your staff trained on Pediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at Work. It is very important. We offer this training and are eager to train as many educators and parents as possible.
Also plan to teach your students about First Aid. Train and empower them with the skills to help save a life in event of an emergency.
Is there any child with medical conditions like allergies, asthma, etc? Why not talk to your students about the condition so that they are sympathetic (and understanding) to their friend’s needs and if possible help or call for help if there is an emergency.
3. Have an incident reporting policy
Do you have an Incident/accident reporting policy in your school?
Do you know that close calls (aka near misses) and observations should be recorded also?
A record of all first aid treatments given should also be kept as well as any follow-ups or medical treatments.
Let’s face it – there is the likelihood that a child will get hurt at school either when playing or involved in a sport activity. There is also the likelihood that some children take ill while at school.
There is also a chance many children have luckily escaped injuries – that is what we call a near miss or a close call.
How do you keep a record if any of this should happen?
To make it easy, I am sharing with you a form we use in our school. On the last page, you will find a brief guide telling you exactly what some of the terms mean.
Why not introduce it into your school and speak to your teachers about using it? Let me know if you do eventually use it and if you found it helpful. Your thoughts and opinions are welcome.
P.S. Very important!
One great reason to ensure the school has a record of incidents is to help protect the school and show that you are on top of your game. Parents need to know exactly what happened as some teachers will try to hide injuries if they can. Let the teachers know there are serious consequences for failed or under-reporting of accidents.
CHALLENGE 6 – Increase security effort
I call this the Challenge of Challenges.
The truth is, security is a big issue especially in Nigeria of today. Parents need peace of mind while at work. They need to know that their children are being protected and are safe. Security guards tend to slack on their duties so they need to be watched and monitored closely. Imagine that!
Your security team need to understand why security is top of your list, and why the lives of children in your care matter to you more than anything in this world. With the way the world is right now, we all have to be vigilant. One of the first things we need to work on is ACCESS CONTROL.
Make access to your school super difficult. I have been to schools where I was just let in because they believed a nice looking lady like myself can do no evil. Wrong. Trust no one. Treat all visitors equally whether the arrive by keke (a form of local transportation), bike or a Bentley.
Do you have a security policy in place? Does it work? Don’t you think it is about time you reviewed that policy? What part can your teachers and non-teaching staff play? It shouldn’t be left entirely for the security guard to deal with. We are all in this together.
CHALLENGE 7 – Have a safety plan and budget
This for me is the Super Collosal Challenge of Challenges. LOL.
Because 95% of the schools we have visited do not care about safety and of course do not practice it. They are either unaware and don’t want to be aware or they have a false sense of being safe and are living in super denial or they are just uninterested as they see Safety as just another bill. Neither have they thought of safety so clearly they haven’t planned for it neither have they created a budget or put money aside to take care of their safety needs.
The truth is, you cannot be in business for long if your staff and learners are unsafe or feel unsafe. It isn’t about having a school nurse or CCTV or a securiy personnel or a child protection policy. It is a lot more than all of these combined.
What you need is a robust safety system that takes care of all your safety needs, starting with a general health and safety policy and a whole lot of stuff that DIY (Do It Yourself) cannot take care of.
I also have a 5-day email course on safety planning you will gain a lot from. Why not register here to be a part of it. You get to work at your pace and get expert help and advice!
On a not so final note!
There is so much to sort out with regards to school safety but start with this challenge – it is just an appetizer. We will deal with more at our workshops and webinars. Stay tuned!
Hope you found these challenges easy to carry out. Please leave a comment and let me know how you are getting on!
Don’t forget to sign up for the
Safety planning email course