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Tragically, guns are now the leading cause of death among children and teens in the US. Schools and educational institutions must implement effective crisis plans to combat natural disasters, shootings, and other threats to student safety.
It’s your responsibility to protect the children under your care in a crisis; do you have an effective crisis communication plan?
Keep reading as we discuss crisis communication, why it matters, and the top tools and techniques for crisis communication in education - don’t miss out on this crucial information that could become pivotal in preparing your team for a crisis.
Crisis communication surrounds how educational and teaching staff respond to an emergency on school premises; it encapsulates the following response protocols:
A crisis communication plan should consist of both internal and external communications, as well as prior planning. Why is this necessary in an educational institution? Here are some benefits of providing a crisis communication plan:
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Let’s explore some of the top qualities of an effective crisis communication plan. Your plan should be based on, or should incorporate, the following principles:
Preparedness: You should have well-defined roles, responsibilities, and scenario plans
Clarity: Your plan should be easy to understand so that the plan can be carried out quickly
Accessibility: Consider those with disabilities and barriers in your plan
Transparency: It encourages honesty, openness, and truth in a crisis
Flexibility: Your plan can be adjusted according to any evolution in the crisis
Training: You should train your employees in line with the practice plan
Two-way communication - Leave room for feedback, questions, and dialogue while forming your plan
Now that you know everything you need to know about effective crisis communication plans, here are some tools and techniques to consider when preparing your crisis strategy.
Early notification allows your teams to respond to a crisis immediately; they should be able to receive automated alerts based on security and safety risks on the premises. Many cloud-based security tools enable automated alerts for security risks, such as:
With these technologies in place, you’ll always be aware of any potential security threats on site.
If you opt for cloud-based security systems using grants for school security improvements, you can initiate emergency response procedures instantly. For instance, opting for a cloud-based access control system allows you to operate door locks using your mobile device remotely.
Security staff and system administrators can quickly initiate evacuation procedures, unlocking all school doors in a crisis. Or, conversely, they can initiate lockdown procedures to contain an on-site incident. The steps of investigating the incident, determining whether evacuation or lockdown is needed, and communicating the plan to building occupants should be included in your crisis communication plan.
The last thing you want is for your staff to panic in an emergency. Providing plenty of practice and training them on the proper verbiage will equip them with more confidence; if your staff are panicked and uncertain, this will show and encourage a culture of panic - cool, calm, and collected communication is the foundation of maintaining control in a crisis. Provide them with training that covers the following:
Implementing practice scenarios will build your employees’ confidence in these situations, ensuring they’re more than prepared to handle any situation
Crisis communication helps to make crisis resolution smoother and more controlled. Fumbling for control in a crisis will quickly degrade the impression of your educational institution within the community. Remember these crisis communication strategies to optimally prepare your staff and infrastructure for a crisis.
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