Paper Binders and the School Safety Plan

Most schools have an safety plan that consists of a detailed set of instructions bundled in a 3-ring binder. Updates occur during the school year occur, and are typically distributed via email or occasionally mass printed and shared at staff meetings. It then becomes the responsibility of the holder of the 3-ring binder to put the updates into the right tab–doing this presumably in a timely fashion..

Two decades ago, school safety consisted mostly of a few fire drills, safety patrols, observant staff and perhaps a tornado drill or two. This world has changed since Columbine and Sandy Hook and Katrina. We recognize that local law enforcement, school officials and even FEMA must work collaboratively and actively together to build a safe and effective plan—one that is less dependent on individual people and more dependent on systems. That was one of the key tragic lessons from Sandy Hook.

Let’s face it: To be most effective, schools must do more than print out pages and distribute safety binders. What’s needed are stronger, modern systems that include built-in communications, alerts, instructions, and guides for navigating emergencies. If you are still using paper—wake up to the 21st century. Your life––and the life of others––depends on it.