Emergency preparedness for maintaining student safety while at school remains a priority for educational institutions across the United States. But are the same safety considerations given for after-school events?
Extracurricular activities and school functions held outside of the classroom are important for students and schools. Creating opportunities for students to avoid risky behavior and grow both socially and emotionally, these activities can lead to a higher sense of self-worth, belonging, and contentment that can mitigate behavioral issues and promote mental wellness.
Yet, a recent history of violence at high school football and basketball games has emphasized the need for athletic directors to focus on the collaborative role they play in planning for emergency response during after-school sporting events.
School Safety Planning and Collaboration
Schools across the United States are mandated to have an emergency operations plan (EOP) in place for responding to events on campus, which should include incidents that may occur at after-school events. Establishing a collaborative critical incident response team consisting of school personnel and emergency response partners within the community can ensure all stakeholders are prepared to respond effectively to events either during or after school hours.
A critical incident response team should consist of:
- School administrators
- School resource officers (SROs)
- Athletic director/personnel
- School counselors
- Emergency Management
- Teachers/Staff members
- Transportation supervisor
The responsibilities of a critical incident response team include identifying the risks and vulnerabilities involved and determining the appropriate assessment methodologies and procedures. The team should discuss the types and categories of unplanned emergencies that may occur, developing an active threat plan (ATP) around them, and then participate in scenario-based activities to demonstrate the planning and mitigation strategies discussed.
A corresponding site map, or critical incident map (CIM), enables the team to clearly define floor plans and key locations, including the command post and staging area for emergency services, to ensure a coordinated and efficient response by all parties.
The Role of an Athletic Director in Safety Planning
While there are a number of natural and technological emergencies to include and prepare for both during and after school hours, there is currently an emphasis on the potential adversarial, incidental, and human-caused threats that might occur during a high school sporting event. These types of threats can include:
- Gang violence
- Criminal activity
- Active shooter(s)
When planning a response to such incidents, an athletic director should be instrumental in determining the ingress and egress of Fire/EMS providers in all locations where sporting events are held, as well as assist with developing protocols for the following:
- Crowd control / clearing the area of players or bystanders
- Creating and sharing pre-scripted messages with event participants
- Assigning personnel to assist Fire/EMS responders with navigation to patient(s)
- Ensuring bus drivers are trained on who to contact and what to do
- Establishing thresholds for continuing the after-school athletic event after the incident
For an athletic director, being a member of the critical incident response team can ensure sufficient consideration and planning are given for after-school event safety — to protect players and attendees should an active threat occur.
StrataSite™ Active Threat Planning
The StrataSite™ Active Threat Planning platform allows all stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop a comprehensive school safety plan to facilitate a coordinated response to any threat on campus.
With StrataSite, you not only get comprehensive maps and worksheets that articulate the plan, but also the ability to upload relevant supporting documents to this plan and easily share it with all stakeholders.
The StrataSite platform includes a built-in learning management system (LMS) that facilitates training around the plan, and a digital asset management (DAM) platform that houses all safety-related documentation for easy access to and sharing of information amongst the response team.
Are you an athletic director in need of help with active threat planning?
Contact StrataSite today for more information or a demonstration, or submit a request for a quote now.