Emergency Planning

School Emergencies Exposed: The Alarming Reality

Joel Lim

|

January 26, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

school emergencies exposed

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be safe from harm. This includes anything from fires to floods, to accidents and crime. 

Unfortunately, emergencies in schools are becoming an alarming reality. Having plans and frequent drills in place is something both parents and schools must take seriously. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the types of emergencies schools face and what they can potentially do to prevent and/or handle them.


Key Takeaways 

  • The most common school incidents include medical emergencies, severe weather, fire, violent crime and hazardous accidents.

  • Emergencies in schools are increasing at alarming rates. For example, every fifth student in California is sent home at least once yearly due to an emergency.

  • The best way to prepare for emergencies is to have an emergency plan, store all important documents safely and prepare an emergency kit. 


School Emergency Examples

school emergency examples

True emergencies in schools include violent crime, medical emergencies, severe weather, and life-or-death situations. Here are some of the most common:

Violent Crime

Violent crime is on the rise in some areas of the country, especially in local schools. 

This includes active shootings, which are a concern schools across the country face.

Another violent crime happening at schools is assault. There are more and more instances of students physically assaulting teachers, with some injuries putting them out of work for some time. It also includes student-on-student violence and severe bullying. 

Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies are another example of serious situations schools often encounter. This includes both physical and mental health emergencies

Medical emergencies involve students who are severely ill or are having an allergic reaction to something they ate. 

On top of this, there are slip-and-fall accidents that cause serious injuries.

Mental health is also a cause for medical emergencies because depression and suicide attempts among students are becoming increasingly common. 

Pressure in academics has increased, and the presence of social media has increased problems with self-worth. All these things can cause students to feel depressed and cause self-harm. When students attempt to harm themselves, potential medical emergencies occur. 

Severe Weather 

Many areas of the country are experiencing an increase in severe weather, which can affect schools. 

For example, severe weather, such as a tornado that happens quickly, is a common cause of school emergencies, especially in certain states.

Severe weather events can completely destroy school gymnasiums and classrooms, putting students' and teachers' lives at risk. 

Severe storms with gushing winds and thunder can also wreak havoc on school buildings and potentially cause forest fires. There are also other common severe weather events like flash floods or earthquakes that schools may face, which can happen in an instant and be devastating. 

Fires

Fires are also a common school emergency. Even with safety prevention, they can still happen. They can spread quickly and become very dangerous. 

Fires in schools can happen for several reasons. Causes include electrical faults, faulty appliances and severe weather events. Schools need an emergency plan in place to ensure all students and faculty have a path to escape danger. 

Hazardous Accidents

Did you know that something as simple as a plastic bag in the walkway can cause a hazardous accident, like a slip and fall? This should give you an idea of how common hazardous accidents are in schools. A student could trip over a bag and break a limb or land on a sharp object. 

Heavy equipment could fall, knock, or injure a student, and chemical spills during classes can turn harmful quickly. Additionally, gas leaks and other mishaps can cause great harm to the people inside the school. These are all examples of hazardous accidents that can cause emergencies in school.  


How Many Emergencies Happen in Schools?

how many emergencies happen in schools

It's difficult to pinpoint how many emergencies happen in schools because there are too many to report accurately. However, just by looking at some stats, we can see there are an alarming number of emergencies in schools. 

For example, in California alone, around 6.2 million students are missing school due to natural disasters and other emergencies plaguing the state.

According to an article shared by Cal Matters, every fifth student in California was sent home at least once per year due to a natural disaster, school shooting threat or some other emergency

Wildfires are also one of the state’s biggest causes of school emergencies. This doesn't include other major disasters. Between 2017 and 2019, 300 federally-declared natural disasters affected more than half of the schools in those affected counties.  

Fire is also a concern for emergencies in schools, with over 1,000 times the frequency of active shootings, which may surprise people. For example, the average number of active shootings between 2010 and 2020 was 38, whereas there was an average of 4,800 fires in schools from the years 2010 to 2020. 

Injury rates are a large concern at schools as well. For example, in 2001, 10% to 25% of children were injured while in school. During this time, most of these injuries were minor and mostly caused by sport-related activities. 

Later studies show this number remains high. In 2021, around 319,000 students were injured and needed to visit the emergency room, according to a recent survey. The number one cause is still sports injuries, mostly in males. 

Violence in schools is becoming a problem. One survey shows from 2019 to 2020, 70.2% of schools reported one or more violent incidents, with almost half being serious violent incidents. However, not all of the incidents were reported, so this isn't an accurate number either.  

Dr. John Lepine Sr., Principal at Crossover Prep, explains other emergencies schools may encounter:

“In reality, most schools are pretty safe places, and emergencies are rare. But the thing about emergencies is they don’t come on anyone’s schedule. As the Principal of a small school (~100 students), we went years without a single 911 call, and then this fall we had two ambulance visits in the space of a month. Since an emergency can happen at any time, it’s best to have policies in place to respond to them, and to drill regularly on the different scenarios that can occur.”


What Can We Do About School Emergencies?

what can we do about school emergencies

It's not all doom and gloom. There are some things that parents and teachers can do to prevent school emergencies from happening. 

Have Detailed School Emergency Plans

As much as we can try to prevent emergencies from happening, they still occur, and when they do, we need to be prepared. 

A great place to start is by preparing plans for all kinds of emergencies. This can include plans on where to find emergency exits, routes to take, and what to do in the event of an emergency. All parents and students need to know these plans. 

Store Essential Documents Safely

Store all essential documents like contacts, consent forms, and medical information in one centralized and safe location. 

While paper copies are important, you don't want to waste time during an emergency scrambling around looking for important papers. Keep your documents safe by using a document storage system like Trustworthy, where you can safely and securely organize and share documents with others in one centralized, online location. This way, you can access important information in a timely manner in the event of an emergency.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Having an emergency plan is essential, but you must also prepare an emergency kit for times when you cannot wait for emergency services to arrive to help. An emergency kit should at least have some of the following: 

  • Water (one gallon per person per day) 

  • Non-perishable food like canned vegetables, dried fruit, energy bars and tubs of peanut butter 

  • Can opener 

  • Basic first aid kit 

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries 

  • Flashlights

You can add anything else that you might need during an emergency. You also need to ensure everyone in the school knows where to find the emergency kit. 

Practice Drills  

So, you've made all the plans and got the emergency kit all packed, but that's only one part of preparing for a school emergency. To carry out your emergency plans successfully, you need to practice. 

That's why schools need to hold regular practice drills like lockdowns and evacuations for all potential scenarios. That way, when something does happen, and panic sets in, students and teachers know what to do. 

Jen Dzen, Chairman of the Board of Education in Ellington, Connecticut, highlights the most common emergencies and how schools prepare for them:

“If you are speaking from a student perspective, it [most common emergency] would be evacuation due to a fire or smoke. What we practice for is fires, and lockdowns due to a concerning person or incident near the school, a threatening call made to the school, and the potential of an active shooter. Emergencies are infrequent. That is due to the proper care and maintenance of facilities, strong security protocols and community awareness. That being said, it is important for schools to stay disciplined in the number and quality of their drills to ensure the best outcomes if an emergency does occur.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why must schools plan for all emergencies they may face?

The thing about emergencies is that you don't know which one will happen. Because you're responsible for the well-being of students, you need to prepare for everything that’s likely to happen. 

How can students and teachers be safe in school?

Everyone can remain safe in school by ensuring they know the emergency plans and the nearest exits, and attend all practice drills. 

What is the most common emergency situation in schools?

The common emergency situation in schools is typically due to bad weather like storms or tornadoes.

Emergency Planning

School Emergencies Exposed: The Alarming Reality

Joel Lim

|

January 26, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be safe from harm. This includes anything from fires to floods, to accidents and crime. 

Unfortunately, emergencies in schools are becoming an alarming reality. Having plans and frequent drills in place is something both parents and schools must take seriously. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the types of emergencies schools face and what they can potentially do to prevent and/or handle them.


Key Takeaways 

  • The most common school incidents include medical emergencies, severe weather, fire, violent crime and hazardous accidents.

  • Emergencies in schools are increasing at alarming rates. For example, every fifth student in California is sent home at least once yearly due to an emergency.

  • The best way to prepare for emergencies is to have an emergency plan, store all important documents safely and prepare an emergency kit. 


School Emergency Examples

school emergency examples

True emergencies in schools include violent crime, medical emergencies, severe weather, and life-or-death situations. Here are some of the most common:

Violent Crime

Violent crime is on the rise in some areas of the country, especially in local schools. 

This includes active shootings, which are a concern schools across the country face.

Another violent crime happening at schools is assault. There are more and more instances of students physically assaulting teachers, with some injuries putting them out of work for some time. It also includes student-on-student violence and severe bullying. 

Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies are another example of serious situations schools often encounter. This includes both physical and mental health emergencies

Medical emergencies involve students who are severely ill or are having an allergic reaction to something they ate. 

On top of this, there are slip-and-fall accidents that cause serious injuries.

Mental health is also a cause for medical emergencies because depression and suicide attempts among students are becoming increasingly common. 

Pressure in academics has increased, and the presence of social media has increased problems with self-worth. All these things can cause students to feel depressed and cause self-harm. When students attempt to harm themselves, potential medical emergencies occur. 

Severe Weather 

Many areas of the country are experiencing an increase in severe weather, which can affect schools. 

For example, severe weather, such as a tornado that happens quickly, is a common cause of school emergencies, especially in certain states.

Severe weather events can completely destroy school gymnasiums and classrooms, putting students' and teachers' lives at risk. 

Severe storms with gushing winds and thunder can also wreak havoc on school buildings and potentially cause forest fires. There are also other common severe weather events like flash floods or earthquakes that schools may face, which can happen in an instant and be devastating. 

Fires

Fires are also a common school emergency. Even with safety prevention, they can still happen. They can spread quickly and become very dangerous. 

Fires in schools can happen for several reasons. Causes include electrical faults, faulty appliances and severe weather events. Schools need an emergency plan in place to ensure all students and faculty have a path to escape danger. 

Hazardous Accidents

Did you know that something as simple as a plastic bag in the walkway can cause a hazardous accident, like a slip and fall? This should give you an idea of how common hazardous accidents are in schools. A student could trip over a bag and break a limb or land on a sharp object. 

Heavy equipment could fall, knock, or injure a student, and chemical spills during classes can turn harmful quickly. Additionally, gas leaks and other mishaps can cause great harm to the people inside the school. These are all examples of hazardous accidents that can cause emergencies in school.  


How Many Emergencies Happen in Schools?

how many emergencies happen in schools

It's difficult to pinpoint how many emergencies happen in schools because there are too many to report accurately. However, just by looking at some stats, we can see there are an alarming number of emergencies in schools. 

For example, in California alone, around 6.2 million students are missing school due to natural disasters and other emergencies plaguing the state.

According to an article shared by Cal Matters, every fifth student in California was sent home at least once per year due to a natural disaster, school shooting threat or some other emergency

Wildfires are also one of the state’s biggest causes of school emergencies. This doesn't include other major disasters. Between 2017 and 2019, 300 federally-declared natural disasters affected more than half of the schools in those affected counties.  

Fire is also a concern for emergencies in schools, with over 1,000 times the frequency of active shootings, which may surprise people. For example, the average number of active shootings between 2010 and 2020 was 38, whereas there was an average of 4,800 fires in schools from the years 2010 to 2020. 

Injury rates are a large concern at schools as well. For example, in 2001, 10% to 25% of children were injured while in school. During this time, most of these injuries were minor and mostly caused by sport-related activities. 

Later studies show this number remains high. In 2021, around 319,000 students were injured and needed to visit the emergency room, according to a recent survey. The number one cause is still sports injuries, mostly in males. 

Violence in schools is becoming a problem. One survey shows from 2019 to 2020, 70.2% of schools reported one or more violent incidents, with almost half being serious violent incidents. However, not all of the incidents were reported, so this isn't an accurate number either.  

Dr. John Lepine Sr., Principal at Crossover Prep, explains other emergencies schools may encounter:

“In reality, most schools are pretty safe places, and emergencies are rare. But the thing about emergencies is they don’t come on anyone’s schedule. As the Principal of a small school (~100 students), we went years without a single 911 call, and then this fall we had two ambulance visits in the space of a month. Since an emergency can happen at any time, it’s best to have policies in place to respond to them, and to drill regularly on the different scenarios that can occur.”


What Can We Do About School Emergencies?

what can we do about school emergencies

It's not all doom and gloom. There are some things that parents and teachers can do to prevent school emergencies from happening. 

Have Detailed School Emergency Plans

As much as we can try to prevent emergencies from happening, they still occur, and when they do, we need to be prepared. 

A great place to start is by preparing plans for all kinds of emergencies. This can include plans on where to find emergency exits, routes to take, and what to do in the event of an emergency. All parents and students need to know these plans. 

Store Essential Documents Safely

Store all essential documents like contacts, consent forms, and medical information in one centralized and safe location. 

While paper copies are important, you don't want to waste time during an emergency scrambling around looking for important papers. Keep your documents safe by using a document storage system like Trustworthy, where you can safely and securely organize and share documents with others in one centralized, online location. This way, you can access important information in a timely manner in the event of an emergency.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Having an emergency plan is essential, but you must also prepare an emergency kit for times when you cannot wait for emergency services to arrive to help. An emergency kit should at least have some of the following: 

  • Water (one gallon per person per day) 

  • Non-perishable food like canned vegetables, dried fruit, energy bars and tubs of peanut butter 

  • Can opener 

  • Basic first aid kit 

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries 

  • Flashlights

You can add anything else that you might need during an emergency. You also need to ensure everyone in the school knows where to find the emergency kit. 

Practice Drills  

So, you've made all the plans and got the emergency kit all packed, but that's only one part of preparing for a school emergency. To carry out your emergency plans successfully, you need to practice. 

That's why schools need to hold regular practice drills like lockdowns and evacuations for all potential scenarios. That way, when something does happen, and panic sets in, students and teachers know what to do. 

Jen Dzen, Chairman of the Board of Education in Ellington, Connecticut, highlights the most common emergencies and how schools prepare for them:

“If you are speaking from a student perspective, it [most common emergency] would be evacuation due to a fire or smoke. What we practice for is fires, and lockdowns due to a concerning person or incident near the school, a threatening call made to the school, and the potential of an active shooter. Emergencies are infrequent. That is due to the proper care and maintenance of facilities, strong security protocols and community awareness. That being said, it is important for schools to stay disciplined in the number and quality of their drills to ensure the best outcomes if an emergency does occur.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why must schools plan for all emergencies they may face?

The thing about emergencies is that you don't know which one will happen. Because you're responsible for the well-being of students, you need to prepare for everything that’s likely to happen. 

How can students and teachers be safe in school?

Everyone can remain safe in school by ensuring they know the emergency plans and the nearest exits, and attend all practice drills. 

What is the most common emergency situation in schools?

The common emergency situation in schools is typically due to bad weather like storms or tornadoes.

Emergency Planning

School Emergencies Exposed: The Alarming Reality

Joel Lim

|

January 26, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

school emergencies exposed

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be safe from harm. This includes anything from fires to floods, to accidents and crime. 

Unfortunately, emergencies in schools are becoming an alarming reality. Having plans and frequent drills in place is something both parents and schools must take seriously. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the types of emergencies schools face and what they can potentially do to prevent and/or handle them.


Key Takeaways 

  • The most common school incidents include medical emergencies, severe weather, fire, violent crime and hazardous accidents.

  • Emergencies in schools are increasing at alarming rates. For example, every fifth student in California is sent home at least once yearly due to an emergency.

  • The best way to prepare for emergencies is to have an emergency plan, store all important documents safely and prepare an emergency kit. 


School Emergency Examples

school emergency examples

True emergencies in schools include violent crime, medical emergencies, severe weather, and life-or-death situations. Here are some of the most common:

Violent Crime

Violent crime is on the rise in some areas of the country, especially in local schools. 

This includes active shootings, which are a concern schools across the country face.

Another violent crime happening at schools is assault. There are more and more instances of students physically assaulting teachers, with some injuries putting them out of work for some time. It also includes student-on-student violence and severe bullying. 

Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies are another example of serious situations schools often encounter. This includes both physical and mental health emergencies

Medical emergencies involve students who are severely ill or are having an allergic reaction to something they ate. 

On top of this, there are slip-and-fall accidents that cause serious injuries.

Mental health is also a cause for medical emergencies because depression and suicide attempts among students are becoming increasingly common. 

Pressure in academics has increased, and the presence of social media has increased problems with self-worth. All these things can cause students to feel depressed and cause self-harm. When students attempt to harm themselves, potential medical emergencies occur. 

Severe Weather 

Many areas of the country are experiencing an increase in severe weather, which can affect schools. 

For example, severe weather, such as a tornado that happens quickly, is a common cause of school emergencies, especially in certain states.

Severe weather events can completely destroy school gymnasiums and classrooms, putting students' and teachers' lives at risk. 

Severe storms with gushing winds and thunder can also wreak havoc on school buildings and potentially cause forest fires. There are also other common severe weather events like flash floods or earthquakes that schools may face, which can happen in an instant and be devastating. 

Fires

Fires are also a common school emergency. Even with safety prevention, they can still happen. They can spread quickly and become very dangerous. 

Fires in schools can happen for several reasons. Causes include electrical faults, faulty appliances and severe weather events. Schools need an emergency plan in place to ensure all students and faculty have a path to escape danger. 

Hazardous Accidents

Did you know that something as simple as a plastic bag in the walkway can cause a hazardous accident, like a slip and fall? This should give you an idea of how common hazardous accidents are in schools. A student could trip over a bag and break a limb or land on a sharp object. 

Heavy equipment could fall, knock, or injure a student, and chemical spills during classes can turn harmful quickly. Additionally, gas leaks and other mishaps can cause great harm to the people inside the school. These are all examples of hazardous accidents that can cause emergencies in school.  


How Many Emergencies Happen in Schools?

how many emergencies happen in schools

It's difficult to pinpoint how many emergencies happen in schools because there are too many to report accurately. However, just by looking at some stats, we can see there are an alarming number of emergencies in schools. 

For example, in California alone, around 6.2 million students are missing school due to natural disasters and other emergencies plaguing the state.

According to an article shared by Cal Matters, every fifth student in California was sent home at least once per year due to a natural disaster, school shooting threat or some other emergency

Wildfires are also one of the state’s biggest causes of school emergencies. This doesn't include other major disasters. Between 2017 and 2019, 300 federally-declared natural disasters affected more than half of the schools in those affected counties.  

Fire is also a concern for emergencies in schools, with over 1,000 times the frequency of active shootings, which may surprise people. For example, the average number of active shootings between 2010 and 2020 was 38, whereas there was an average of 4,800 fires in schools from the years 2010 to 2020. 

Injury rates are a large concern at schools as well. For example, in 2001, 10% to 25% of children were injured while in school. During this time, most of these injuries were minor and mostly caused by sport-related activities. 

Later studies show this number remains high. In 2021, around 319,000 students were injured and needed to visit the emergency room, according to a recent survey. The number one cause is still sports injuries, mostly in males. 

Violence in schools is becoming a problem. One survey shows from 2019 to 2020, 70.2% of schools reported one or more violent incidents, with almost half being serious violent incidents. However, not all of the incidents were reported, so this isn't an accurate number either.  

Dr. John Lepine Sr., Principal at Crossover Prep, explains other emergencies schools may encounter:

“In reality, most schools are pretty safe places, and emergencies are rare. But the thing about emergencies is they don’t come on anyone’s schedule. As the Principal of a small school (~100 students), we went years without a single 911 call, and then this fall we had two ambulance visits in the space of a month. Since an emergency can happen at any time, it’s best to have policies in place to respond to them, and to drill regularly on the different scenarios that can occur.”


What Can We Do About School Emergencies?

what can we do about school emergencies

It's not all doom and gloom. There are some things that parents and teachers can do to prevent school emergencies from happening. 

Have Detailed School Emergency Plans

As much as we can try to prevent emergencies from happening, they still occur, and when they do, we need to be prepared. 

A great place to start is by preparing plans for all kinds of emergencies. This can include plans on where to find emergency exits, routes to take, and what to do in the event of an emergency. All parents and students need to know these plans. 

Store Essential Documents Safely

Store all essential documents like contacts, consent forms, and medical information in one centralized and safe location. 

While paper copies are important, you don't want to waste time during an emergency scrambling around looking for important papers. Keep your documents safe by using a document storage system like Trustworthy, where you can safely and securely organize and share documents with others in one centralized, online location. This way, you can access important information in a timely manner in the event of an emergency.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Having an emergency plan is essential, but you must also prepare an emergency kit for times when you cannot wait for emergency services to arrive to help. An emergency kit should at least have some of the following: 

  • Water (one gallon per person per day) 

  • Non-perishable food like canned vegetables, dried fruit, energy bars and tubs of peanut butter 

  • Can opener 

  • Basic first aid kit 

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries 

  • Flashlights

You can add anything else that you might need during an emergency. You also need to ensure everyone in the school knows where to find the emergency kit. 

Practice Drills  

So, you've made all the plans and got the emergency kit all packed, but that's only one part of preparing for a school emergency. To carry out your emergency plans successfully, you need to practice. 

That's why schools need to hold regular practice drills like lockdowns and evacuations for all potential scenarios. That way, when something does happen, and panic sets in, students and teachers know what to do. 

Jen Dzen, Chairman of the Board of Education in Ellington, Connecticut, highlights the most common emergencies and how schools prepare for them:

“If you are speaking from a student perspective, it [most common emergency] would be evacuation due to a fire or smoke. What we practice for is fires, and lockdowns due to a concerning person or incident near the school, a threatening call made to the school, and the potential of an active shooter. Emergencies are infrequent. That is due to the proper care and maintenance of facilities, strong security protocols and community awareness. That being said, it is important for schools to stay disciplined in the number and quality of their drills to ensure the best outcomes if an emergency does occur.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why must schools plan for all emergencies they may face?

The thing about emergencies is that you don't know which one will happen. Because you're responsible for the well-being of students, you need to prepare for everything that’s likely to happen. 

How can students and teachers be safe in school?

Everyone can remain safe in school by ensuring they know the emergency plans and the nearest exits, and attend all practice drills. 

What is the most common emergency situation in schools?

The common emergency situation in schools is typically due to bad weather like storms or tornadoes.

Emergency Planning

School Emergencies Exposed: The Alarming Reality

Joel Lim

|

January 26, 2024

Trustworthy is an intelligent digital vault that protects and optimizes your family's information so that you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind.

school emergencies exposed

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be safe from harm. This includes anything from fires to floods, to accidents and crime. 

Unfortunately, emergencies in schools are becoming an alarming reality. Having plans and frequent drills in place is something both parents and schools must take seriously. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the types of emergencies schools face and what they can potentially do to prevent and/or handle them.


Key Takeaways 

  • The most common school incidents include medical emergencies, severe weather, fire, violent crime and hazardous accidents.

  • Emergencies in schools are increasing at alarming rates. For example, every fifth student in California is sent home at least once yearly due to an emergency.

  • The best way to prepare for emergencies is to have an emergency plan, store all important documents safely and prepare an emergency kit. 


School Emergency Examples

school emergency examples

True emergencies in schools include violent crime, medical emergencies, severe weather, and life-or-death situations. Here are some of the most common:

Violent Crime

Violent crime is on the rise in some areas of the country, especially in local schools. 

This includes active shootings, which are a concern schools across the country face.

Another violent crime happening at schools is assault. There are more and more instances of students physically assaulting teachers, with some injuries putting them out of work for some time. It also includes student-on-student violence and severe bullying. 

Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies are another example of serious situations schools often encounter. This includes both physical and mental health emergencies

Medical emergencies involve students who are severely ill or are having an allergic reaction to something they ate. 

On top of this, there are slip-and-fall accidents that cause serious injuries.

Mental health is also a cause for medical emergencies because depression and suicide attempts among students are becoming increasingly common. 

Pressure in academics has increased, and the presence of social media has increased problems with self-worth. All these things can cause students to feel depressed and cause self-harm. When students attempt to harm themselves, potential medical emergencies occur. 

Severe Weather 

Many areas of the country are experiencing an increase in severe weather, which can affect schools. 

For example, severe weather, such as a tornado that happens quickly, is a common cause of school emergencies, especially in certain states.

Severe weather events can completely destroy school gymnasiums and classrooms, putting students' and teachers' lives at risk. 

Severe storms with gushing winds and thunder can also wreak havoc on school buildings and potentially cause forest fires. There are also other common severe weather events like flash floods or earthquakes that schools may face, which can happen in an instant and be devastating. 

Fires

Fires are also a common school emergency. Even with safety prevention, they can still happen. They can spread quickly and become very dangerous. 

Fires in schools can happen for several reasons. Causes include electrical faults, faulty appliances and severe weather events. Schools need an emergency plan in place to ensure all students and faculty have a path to escape danger. 

Hazardous Accidents

Did you know that something as simple as a plastic bag in the walkway can cause a hazardous accident, like a slip and fall? This should give you an idea of how common hazardous accidents are in schools. A student could trip over a bag and break a limb or land on a sharp object. 

Heavy equipment could fall, knock, or injure a student, and chemical spills during classes can turn harmful quickly. Additionally, gas leaks and other mishaps can cause great harm to the people inside the school. These are all examples of hazardous accidents that can cause emergencies in school.  


How Many Emergencies Happen in Schools?

how many emergencies happen in schools

It's difficult to pinpoint how many emergencies happen in schools because there are too many to report accurately. However, just by looking at some stats, we can see there are an alarming number of emergencies in schools. 

For example, in California alone, around 6.2 million students are missing school due to natural disasters and other emergencies plaguing the state.

According to an article shared by Cal Matters, every fifth student in California was sent home at least once per year due to a natural disaster, school shooting threat or some other emergency

Wildfires are also one of the state’s biggest causes of school emergencies. This doesn't include other major disasters. Between 2017 and 2019, 300 federally-declared natural disasters affected more than half of the schools in those affected counties.  

Fire is also a concern for emergencies in schools, with over 1,000 times the frequency of active shootings, which may surprise people. For example, the average number of active shootings between 2010 and 2020 was 38, whereas there was an average of 4,800 fires in schools from the years 2010 to 2020. 

Injury rates are a large concern at schools as well. For example, in 2001, 10% to 25% of children were injured while in school. During this time, most of these injuries were minor and mostly caused by sport-related activities. 

Later studies show this number remains high. In 2021, around 319,000 students were injured and needed to visit the emergency room, according to a recent survey. The number one cause is still sports injuries, mostly in males. 

Violence in schools is becoming a problem. One survey shows from 2019 to 2020, 70.2% of schools reported one or more violent incidents, with almost half being serious violent incidents. However, not all of the incidents were reported, so this isn't an accurate number either.  

Dr. John Lepine Sr., Principal at Crossover Prep, explains other emergencies schools may encounter:

“In reality, most schools are pretty safe places, and emergencies are rare. But the thing about emergencies is they don’t come on anyone’s schedule. As the Principal of a small school (~100 students), we went years without a single 911 call, and then this fall we had two ambulance visits in the space of a month. Since an emergency can happen at any time, it’s best to have policies in place to respond to them, and to drill regularly on the different scenarios that can occur.”


What Can We Do About School Emergencies?

what can we do about school emergencies

It's not all doom and gloom. There are some things that parents and teachers can do to prevent school emergencies from happening. 

Have Detailed School Emergency Plans

As much as we can try to prevent emergencies from happening, they still occur, and when they do, we need to be prepared. 

A great place to start is by preparing plans for all kinds of emergencies. This can include plans on where to find emergency exits, routes to take, and what to do in the event of an emergency. All parents and students need to know these plans. 

Store Essential Documents Safely

Store all essential documents like contacts, consent forms, and medical information in one centralized and safe location. 

While paper copies are important, you don't want to waste time during an emergency scrambling around looking for important papers. Keep your documents safe by using a document storage system like Trustworthy, where you can safely and securely organize and share documents with others in one centralized, online location. This way, you can access important information in a timely manner in the event of an emergency.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Having an emergency plan is essential, but you must also prepare an emergency kit for times when you cannot wait for emergency services to arrive to help. An emergency kit should at least have some of the following: 

  • Water (one gallon per person per day) 

  • Non-perishable food like canned vegetables, dried fruit, energy bars and tubs of peanut butter 

  • Can opener 

  • Basic first aid kit 

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries 

  • Flashlights

You can add anything else that you might need during an emergency. You also need to ensure everyone in the school knows where to find the emergency kit. 

Practice Drills  

So, you've made all the plans and got the emergency kit all packed, but that's only one part of preparing for a school emergency. To carry out your emergency plans successfully, you need to practice. 

That's why schools need to hold regular practice drills like lockdowns and evacuations for all potential scenarios. That way, when something does happen, and panic sets in, students and teachers know what to do. 

Jen Dzen, Chairman of the Board of Education in Ellington, Connecticut, highlights the most common emergencies and how schools prepare for them:

“If you are speaking from a student perspective, it [most common emergency] would be evacuation due to a fire or smoke. What we practice for is fires, and lockdowns due to a concerning person or incident near the school, a threatening call made to the school, and the potential of an active shooter. Emergencies are infrequent. That is due to the proper care and maintenance of facilities, strong security protocols and community awareness. That being said, it is important for schools to stay disciplined in the number and quality of their drills to ensure the best outcomes if an emergency does occur.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why must schools plan for all emergencies they may face?

The thing about emergencies is that you don't know which one will happen. Because you're responsible for the well-being of students, you need to prepare for everything that’s likely to happen. 

How can students and teachers be safe in school?

Everyone can remain safe in school by ensuring they know the emergency plans and the nearest exits, and attend all practice drills. 

What is the most common emergency situation in schools?

The common emergency situation in schools is typically due to bad weather like storms or tornadoes.

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