Disasters can happen anytime, including when your children are at school. Do you know exactly where they will be if it strikes?
1. Where is my child in the building?
Ask your children or their teachers where the students will be during any type of drill – fire, tornado, earthquake and lockdown drills. Think through where the children would be when they are in different parts of the building, too, such as lunchtime and specials. Keep a copy of your children’s daily schedule on hand. I often keep a copy on the refrigerator and take a picture to keep in my phone.
Speaking of lockdown drills, make sure to take the time to talk to your children about what they would do if one happened when they were in various locations in the school. One of my children once asked what she should do if she was in the bathroom when they called for a lockdown – that made for an interesting discussion.
2. What is the evacuation plan?
If the school is damaged, find out where the school will take the children. Sometimes there is a church or community center nearby that the school plans to use. Some school may plan to use a nearby field or parking lot if there is not a big enough building nearby. If your children are the kind that like reassurance (mine do), let them know that you know where they will be taken to during an evacuation and that you will come get them.
3. What hospital does the school use in its school safety plan?
Sometimes a disaster is a more personal one where children get hurt or collapse at school. If they have to transport your child to a hospital, do you know which one they would use? Knowing that could save you time by knowing ahead of time exactly how to get there. It is good to know what emergency services your school would call as well. Do you have specific people lined up who can get your children in emergencies if you are not available? Make sure to let your children know who is and is not allowed to pick them up. One good idea is to establish a family code word that a person who picks them up should know.
Ask these questions and you can be prepared in case a disaster happens while your children are in school. You can also apply these questions to any event that you leave your children at – scouts, church, sports, and friends’ houses. Knowing where they are means you will be able to get to them quicker in case of an emergency.
What other questions would you ask about your school’s emergency plan?
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