How to Enhance the School Security System with Two-way Radios?

How to Enhance the School Security System with Two-way Radios?

12 Aug. 2016   Information

Ensuring the safety of children and staff in America's schools is the single most important issue school boards and administrators must address. Police departments and other law enforcement cannot be left to deal with the issues of safety unique to centers for education, alone or in concert with each other. School administrators must make financial allowances for, create and implement programs and strategies in coordination with law enforcement to better protect their facilities, staff and the children they have taken responsibility for.

This guide will help administrators enhance the school security system with two-way radios.
Step 1 Purchase two-way radios and chargers for use by each staff member. Administrators must calculate the number of staff employed and having access to their facility, then order a corresponding number of two-way radios and chargers, plus ten.
Step 2 Set up a secured room and stock it with all of the two-way radio chargers. Select a small, locked-room in which to store radios while they are being charged at night and when not in use. Maintenance will be responsible for the management, distribution and upkeep of this room and its contents.

Step 3 Assign each radio a number and mark each radio accordingly. Make a list of all the currently numbered locations in the facility. This list should include each numbered classroom, gymnasiums, cafeterias, outdoor locations where training takes place, etc,. If there is no currently assigned number for a location, excluding restrooms, hallways, closets, and various storage facilities, assign numbers and place them prominently at the physical location, and then mark the appropriate radio with that number.

Step 4 Create a master list on a facility layout diagram. Use the same one provided to incoming students and staff and make sure all the location numbers are present. On this diagram, note the default channel the facility will be using for communication. Make copies of this diagram and distribute.
Step 5 Establish a file for used log sheets and a file for blank copies.

Step 6 Select a reliable member of the facility's office personnel as the facility "Hub". This individual will get their radio from the locked-room each working day and, after ensuring that it is in proper working order, will take it to their workspace. Provide this individual with a log sheet copy, daily and have them affix the date, school name, and their own name at the top of the layout sheet, prominently. Assign a minimum of two reliable back-up "Hubs" for this responsibility. (This responsibility must be assigned to an adult, employed by this facility, not a trusted student or volunteer for legal purposes.) Responsibilities for the "Hub" will include:
Step 7 Disburse two-way radios to adult staff during a scheduled training meeting. Conduct a brief meeting with staff. Distribute radios based on the location to which each staff member is assigned. Demonstrate the proper use of the radio to attendees. Explain the rules of two-way radio operation as follows:
Step 8 Instruct teachers to pass along all instructions to their homeroom classes immediately and demonstrate proper use of the radio by checking in following the procedure. This will ensure that, should anything happen to a teacher, students will be aware of the simplest means of immediate contact with help outside their physical location. Teacher should then place the radio in a visible and accessible location within the classroom with a firm warning to students to use it should an emergency arise. Teachers should remind students to maintain radio contact with others outside the location in the event of an emergency, if at all possible.

Step 9 Instruct all staff members to report any unusual, dangerous or suspicious activity through their radio immediately, but succinctly. User is to press the microphone button and, first, call out the radio number, then state their location if they are not where they are assumed to be based on the radio number, then state their emergency and let go of the microphone button.
Emergency Instructions to staff:
Step 10 Notify local law enforcement of the radio procedure and the channels your facility intends to use for communication. This will allow the law enforcement personnel to monitor and/or use those frequencies to offer instructions to facility staff and each other without radio interference or confusion.

Step 11 Ask a local police official and local fire official to visit the facility. Introduce them to your three communication "Hubs" and show them the two-way radio roster/facility diagram that you've posted on each entry/exit point. Tell them, and provide them with a copy of, the procedure you will follow during reported emergencies and what channel they should use to communicate directly with radio users within the facility.

Step 12 Using the two-way radio policy, conduct a tornado/fire drill to ensure that all users are able to use the radio effectively and understand the new process. Stress the importance that every user maintain proper protocol throughout the exercise and troubleshoot/resolve any conflicts discovered, immediately thereafter. Stress the importance of limited radio communication during an emergency, advising them on how to be concise in their radio communications and reminding them to release the microphone button any time they are not speaking, unless otherwise instructed.

(1) All radio users must report the number assigned to the radio they are using before stating anything else. This establishes the location of the emergency and identifies the staff member, specifically, so that other staff and law enforcement/emergency personnel can respond to the appropriate area of the facility without any undue delay. Additionally, when a "Hub" hears an unfamiliar voice on the two-way radio (such as that of a child), the assumption can be made that something has happened to the staff member to whom that radio was assigned and appropriate law enforcement and emergency medical responders can be notified.
(2) Place a rubber band around each radio (if the microphone button located on the side of the handheld device). During an attack by an individual(s), the rubber band can be pushed up to depress the microphone button allowing all users to hear exactly what is going on in that location via their radio, even if something happens to the assigned user.
(3) In the event that a radio user does not check in with their radio number and the word "Clear" at the start of their shift, two attempts should be made to reach that user via the radio. If communication cannot be established, the "Hub" should go to the locked-room, get a fully charged radio back-up and go directly to the location of the non-communicative user to switch radios. This will prevent a delay in communications should their radio be damaged or defective. (Secondary "Hub" should take over check-in "Clear" roster while switch is made.)
(4) React to the radio report of "Emergency" from a user in the same manner as a fire and evacuate the facility. If the "Emergency" turns out to be an armed intruder inside the facility, the swift and calm evacuation of the students will potentially prevent mass casualties. Huddled masses of children inside any building are far easier to hurt or kill, in large numbers, than freely moving evacuees.

(1) No student or volunteer should ever be put in the position of being one of the "Hubs". Emergency and law enforcement officials will not appreciate administrators who put them in the position of dealing with a child to determine the location and safest means of accessing and protecting all the people in a given facility because those who were hired to do such work were too lazy to do it themselves.
(2) Users should never use the two-way radios to communicate with anyone about anything non-procedural. No party planning, lunch date arrangements, schedule conflict resolution, or "chatter" should be tolerated.
(3) Turn down radios in the vicinity of an "Emergency" report. If the crisis is a stranger in the building, the importance of quiet resolution and/or evacuations may become imperative.
(4) If a user hears law enforcement orders or communications on their two-way radio during an emergency, they are not to make unnecessary attempts to communicate with them. During an emergency, the officials will be trying to secure the area and will not have time to hear "thanks" or other gratuitous communications from users.

(Source: wikihow)
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