In a room full of small children, safety is a paramount concern. Teachers especially should be aware of the potential hazards. It’s all too easy to focus on “child-proofing” the classroom itself or the tools the students use without considering emergency situations. To truly provide a safe classroom environment, teaching staff should focus on both proactive and preventive emergency preparations.
Classroom Safety Preparations
Long before any emergency occurs, teachers should create a safe learning environment for their students through preventive measures. Students should feel safe and know exactly what to do in a bad situation. A few critical ways to prepare for emergencies include:
- Reduce hazards in the classroom
- Communicate emergency plans to others
- Train staff in emergency procedures
1) Reduce Hazards in the Classroom
Parents trust that their children are being placed in a safe environment when they drop them off at school. An emergency can come from external sources like severe weather or intruders, but there are also hazards found in the classroom. It’s important to keep hazardous items inaccessible from a child’s reach, especially if they could cause injury. Hazardous items may include cleaning supplies, scissors, pencil sharpeners, glue, pens, and even electrical cords.
2) Communicate Emergency Plans to Others
When tragedy strikes, chaos can erupt if a plan isn’t in place. It’s important to have safety measures and emergency contacts assigned beforehand so that parents and teachers will know what is expected and who to call. In order to ensure everyone is informed, check that a written reference is shared and easy to access. In the case of an emergency, this will limit any confusion and ultimately, will help keep the classroom safe from harm.
Pro Tip: Emergency guides should be posted in your classrooms, but it’s also important to have guides for the children. Consider making kid-friendly posters that can be hung in the classroom.
3) Train Staff in Emergency Procedures
In the time of an emergency, teachers should be prepared to direct students and follow the emergency plan that has been provided. In the case of injury, it’s also important for teachers to be trained in CPR and first aid. Set aside time during the school year to prepare staff by performing emergency drills and providing mandatory training classes. Whether the emergency is a fire, severe weather, terrorist threat, active shooter or health-related, everyone should know what steps to take beforehand.
Promote Classroom Safety
Considering how much time teachers and students alike spend in the classroom, it’s absolutely critical to have a safety plan in place. Knowing what to do in an emergency will promote feelings of safety, learning, and ultimate success in a bad situation.
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