On Tuesday the Fulton County School Board heard an update on the school system’s school safety and emergency planning processes at its work session. The presentation was timed to coincide with National Preparedness Month, which is observed each September.
During September, the Department of Safety and Security takes a special interest in making sure that students, parents and schools are informed of what to do in an emergency as well as how to make a safety plan and build an emergency kit. The department also provides the school board an update on how the school system aims to keep students and staff safe.
Mark Muma, the district’s director of School Safety & Security, outlined the district’s safety functions – including its School Police, Student Health Services, Emergency Preparedness, and Risk Management offices – but focused primarily on the school system’s response capabilities.
“September is a time we pay special attention to safety and emergency planning, but it really should be part of our everyday activities.” Muma said. “From the teacher in the classroom to the parent at home, we all play a part in keeping our students safe.”
Muma said that in addition to being certified first aid, CPR and AED instructors, the health services' registered nurses also respond to medical related emergencies. This year, all 850+ school bus drivers also are becoming certified in CPR to be prepared to render a faster life-saving response in the event of a medical emergency.
Also, the school system’s Risk Management Department, with support of the Safety & Security, School Police and Transportation departments, recently led a defensive driver training program for all school bus drivers and maintenance and warehouse drivers. The effort earned the district a “Best Performance Award” from the National Safety Council for its deployment of the driving curriculum and commitment to making the roads safer for all Fulton motorists.
Muma said that the school system also has plans to use SPLOST IV funds to place new visitor identification systems for all schools and update each school’s technology for emergency on-site communication. A new partnership with Campus Crime Stoppers also has begun, allowing students to anonymously report a crime or anything that seems suspicious. The school system also is increasing its use of SchoolMessenger, a mass notification system that uses voice calls, email, and text messaging to keep parents and staff members informed during an emergency. Parents can text YES to 88544 to opt-in for emergency text alerts.