Just recently I wrote an article where Sandy Hook attorneys representing families of two of the children murdered, included a comment that one of the substitute teachers that reported to work that day failed to have proper training in Active Shooter protocols, and was not provided with a key to lock her door.
Have you taken the time to review what steps you take when an employee is out for the day or on extended leave? What is your procedure? What do you do to make certain they understand their new responsibilities to the organization and to the people they are responsible for. These questions are not just for school administrators and principals but they also apply to all businesses who have other employees cover for those who are absent.
As a school administrator, what do you do to familiarize the substitute of their responsibilities?
In a recent audit conducted in one of our schools, I entered the classroom and approached a substitute teacher announcing to he and his students that this was a fire evacuation exercise, they must leave the room immediately, and the primary route was blocked by fire and gas. The substitute immediately stood by while the students got up and exited the classroom. The teacher only followed and failed take the lead in this drill. I was stunned. After the drill, I interviewed the substitute teacher only to learn that on that day he was provided with a folder containing the teaching curriculum, an attendance sheet, and that was pretty much it. I questioned if they had been shown the fire evacuation routes, where the “Go Bag” was located, and if he had a key to lock the door. He indicated that he did not, was sure the key was around there someplace, and that he just assigned to sit with the students while they did their work. When I walked in he was sitting at his desk reading a book, while the students completed class work. He went on to advise me that if there was an emergency the “students would know what to do.” This was unacceptable to me and the matter was quickly discussed with the current administrators. They assured me that this was not their procedure, and that there should have been someone who should have walked him through the process. They indicated that they would make certain changes would be forthcoming.
So, what do you do when you get a substitute and how do you prepare them for their daily assignment?
- What you should do is, prior to their class, sit with them and walk them through the evacuation route. Make certain they are familiar with the primary and secondary routes.
- Be familiar with the alarms and what they mean.
- You should go over your protocols related to emergency responses to various event.
- Make sure they know how to lock the doors if necessary and have a key available for quick access.
- Encourage them to be mindful of any persons walking in the hallways, students or adults, and not be afraid to question their status and if they are properly identified with visitor tags or access permits.
- And encourage them to look at the photo on those badges.
I often use to take other employees pictured identification badges that I would find sometimes left unsecured on their desk and walk around gaining access to many areas, hardly being stopped because the teachers only looked at the badge and not carefully examine the photo on that badge.
And what about businesses? What do you do to make certain your employees, who have to cover for other employee’s sick or on extended leave, know how to respond to an emergency? Many of our businesses have different exits and if you fail to familiarize those substituting employees they could find themselves confused and trapped even though an exit is just a few yards away.
These employees should be shown;
- Where the fire extinguishers are located.
- Fire pull station locations to activate the fire alarm
- Where can the First aid kits can be found.
- They also need to know where the AED (Automatic Electronic Defibulator) is located for quick access in the event of a heart attack.
- Escape routes for fire and violent intruders
We must work every day with our employees and teachers, providing them with the knowledge necessary to keep them safe along with those under their watch. As a school administrator or business employer/owner, this is your responsibility. We cannot assume that these individuals will take it upon themselves to learn how to be safe.
If we fail to show the importance we place on their safety then it will only reflect on how much importance we place on our employees.
If you find that there are areas that need to be addressed in your emergency management procedures, or that there needs to be a real evaluation of your existing plans and procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact me via my email, website @ www.rgonzalesconsulting.com, or text message and let me help keep you and your staff safe.
Be Safe… and God Bless