School Safety

24/7 Schools: How to Best Protect Your Campus When You’re Not There

November 17, 2023

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School Safety

24/7 Schools: How to Best Protect Your Campus When You’re Not There

While the familiar school bell may signal the start and end of the academic day, school campuses are home to extracurriculars and activities that unfold beyond the classroom both before and after the formal school day. 

With various sports practices, game days, community events, after-school care, and parking lot usage, numerous individuals are continuously entering and exiting your school campus at any given time. This activity, coupled with the threat of violence on school grounds, underscores the need for a comprehensive security strategy to protect school campuses 24/7.

Here are eight ways to bolster the protection of your campus around the clock:

1. Utilize access control measures.

With many campuses having multiple facilities with various access points, it's vital to ensure you maintain limited access to buildings and regularly update your security protocols to ensure only those with current permissions have access. Mechanisms like key cards and smart locks help regulate entry points, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to specific areas during pre-approved times. For example, if band practice ends at 8pm, an approved user wouldn’t have access to the facility at 2am. These extra measures ensure tight security at all hours.

2. Develop emergency response plans.

Develop and regularly rehearse comprehensive emergency response plans. Ensure that all staff and students are well-versed in evacuation procedures, and establish communication protocols to swiftly disseminate critical information during crises. For example, you likely have a plan in place for a fire drill during school hours, but what is the protocol for a fire alarm at 6pm when there are multiple student groups in the building? Establishing and sharing plans for the unexpected will prevent chaos in the event of an incident occurring outside of hours of instruction.

3. Collaborate with local law enforcement and neighboring campuses.

Forge strong partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and other schools in your area. Establish a process to regularly share information to enhance response times and facilitate seamless collaboration between on-campus security and external authorities. One way to do this is by requesting that law enforcement conduct directed patrols on campus during the evenings, helping to establish their presence and allowing them to become better acquainted with the school.

4. Implement clear signage and expectations for all after-school activities.

While certain campus visitors may be acquainted with the layout, a significant number could be setting foot on the premises for the first time. Whether hosting a sporting event, community program, or overseeing a construction project, it is imperative to ensure that visitors are well-informed about designated parking areas and authorized buildings for use during their time on campus. This information should also be communicated properly to parents and faculty to ensure all parties are on the same page when it comes to who does and does not have permission to be on campus for after-school activities. 

5. Ensure parking lots are clearly marked and monitored.

The most common location for a school shooting is in a parking lot (22.6%). To safeguard your campus, it's crucial to maintain well-lit, clearly marked, and closely monitored parking lots. This not only enhances the safety of individuals utilizing these spaces but also serves as a deterrent to potential illicit activities. Solutions to prevent your parking lots from becoming a haven for illegal activities include using temporary barriers, gates, License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras, security guards, and live video cameras to monitor activity. Additionally, consider implementing audio detection in your parking lots to determine if there is violence happening in your parking lots. Flock Safety Raven® has the ability to alert school safety teams and get nearby law enforcement on the way in less than a minute after a gun is fired or fireworks go off outside your school. 

6. Designate a point of contact for each event.

With numerous events happening on campus at any given time, it’s essential to have one person responsible for each event. This allows School Resource Officers (SROs) and leadership to quickly get in contact with an individual guaranteed to be at the event in case of an emergency. This point person should also be equipped with emergency response plans, contact information for SROs and school leadership, and any relevant information about the facilities in use. 

Flock Safety Falcon® LPR

7. Monitor campus traffic with technology.

Explore the integration of technology to monitor and manage campus access points effectively. One way this can be achieved is through the deployment of License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras. The strategic placement of LPR cameras at all entry and exit points on campus establishes a comprehensive database of all vehicles present at any given time. Moreover, these cameras also enable campus security to identify and flag any vehicles that may pose a potential threat, triggering real-time alerts upon detection.

Flock Safety Raven® Audio Detection

8. Utilize audio detection to improve response times.

While you hope to never need it, audio detection can provide advanced situational awareness if gunshots are fired in the vicinity of your campus. The Flock Safety Raven® Audio Detection Device can also alert school safety teams and get nearby law enforcement on the way in less than a minute after a gun was fired outside your school. 

By implementing a  comprehensive security strategy, you can better protect your campus against potential threats, deter crime, and create a safe environment where academics and activities can thrive without compromise. To see how Flock Safety can help you implement a custom solution for your school or campus, book a demo. Together, let’s shape a safer future for students.

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