Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Each morning you kiss your children goodbye and send them off to school, expecting that they will be safe and well cared for. Sometimes it isn't enough to hope for the best. Below are a few steps parents can take to assure their child's safety at school. Check the school's fire detection system - According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 6,000 structure fires occur in schools every year. At minimum, your child's school should have working smoke alarms and sprinkler systems. Check for a specific fire drill plan in place. Emergency fire drills must be conducted regularly. Find out how often they are practiced. In addition, fire safety includes proper fire-extinguisher maintenance. Check to make sure the building is access controlled. At minimum, to control stranger access, the following must be in place: All access doors must be closed to the outside during school hours. Persons inside can easily exit but no one from the outside can gain entry. Secondly, any visitors should have to check in with the school office. There should be no way for an unauthorized visitor to bypass the office and reach the students without being detected. Check for adequate interior and exterior lighting. In many security cases, including apartment abductions, ATM assaults, and hotel robberies, inadequate lighting is often involved. Wrongdoers are attracted to areas of inadequate lighting. Check for a designated pick-up and drop off area. Most schools have an organized system for parents to drop off and pick up their children. Make sure this is in place, and never deviate from that location. Safety plan in place for all emergencies. An adequate number of staff members must be trained in basic first aid and should be available during all emergency drills. There should also be sign-off sheets after each drill and training to verify that the necessary skills are routinely refreshed. In addition, all exits must be clearly marked and emergency evacuation maps must be posted in each room. Similarly, all storm safety procedures should be in place and practiced regularly. Find out what the school uses to monitor severe weather.
Don Keenan, founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, has published a book on child safety titled, 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, which is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.
com. All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.