Thanks to Oliver at disastersafety.info for a guest post today.
I know hurricanes are making a lot of headlines lately (and for good reason), but in a lot of areas of the country, the weather is dry and prone to wildfires. Since there seems to be an abundance of information being spread on hurricane and flood safety right now, I wanted to take a few minutes and share some important wildfire safety information.
The Ultimate Guide to Wildfire Safety
Prepare for Wildfire – Pack a To-Go Bag
Disaster Preparedness for Pets
Tips for preventing wildfires for farmers
Prevention, Protection, and Evacuation: Fire Safety for Farm and Livestock Owners
What YOU Can Do While Traveling to Wildfire Regions
Helping Children After a Wildfire: Tips for Parents and Teachers
How to Recover From A Wildfire
We’ve recently talked about budgeting for security and what to expect from a security director here on the Invictus Consulting blog. Today I want to direct your attention to a recent report in Campus Safety Magazine about salary and benefits for campus protection professionals (i.e., campus police officers, chiefs of security, directors of security, nonsworn officers) from K-12 schools, universities, and hospitals.
Some takeaways from the report:
- $77,500 is the median annual pay rate for campus deputy police chiefs, associate security directors, and directors of emergency management
- Pay ranges from $30,000 to $150,000 for directors of security
- The pay rate has increased in the past 5 years
- Different regions of the country have quite different ranges in pay – those in the west earn more than their counterparts in other parts of the country
- Minorities and women are making gains, albeit small ones, in representation
- Only a third of officers carry a weapon (and only a tenth of women officers are armed)
- Larger campus size generally equates to a larger salary for a director of security
- Departments with 51-75 employees tend to have the highest pay for a director of security
- Understaffing is a concern in the majority of organizations surveyed
Statistics and surveys/polls can be boring, we get it. But if your organization is looking to hire a Director of Security, or hire an off duty police officer, or you’re just getting started thinking about adding money to the budget for security personnel, a report like the one from Campus Safety Magazine is an invaluable place to start.
Back in 2015 the FBI created a training video for law enforcement personnel. The video depicts a (staged) active shooter event including pre-attack warning signs (a video made by the shooter), scenes of the event itself, scenes of first responders responding to the events, scenes of other players such as parents, and post-event fallout such as student reactions and media relations. The second half of the video is a discussion of lessons learned after recent active shooter events – what’s most important is that this part of the video is not staged, these are actual law enforcement executives who lived through the various events and are able to legitimately discuss the event and lessons learned.
The intended audience for the video originally was law enforcement, first responders, and FBI agents. The video was originally released only to law enforcement and first responders, but it is now available in full on YouTube. While the active shooter event is staged (and “softened” a bit), the actions of the responders, the fallout after the event, and the lessons learned are all valuable tools. We recommend watching this video, even if your role is not specifically security-related – everyone can learn from the video, and it’s a great starter for a discussion about security at your place of employment.
What is “averted acts of school violence” and why is it important?
According to Campus Safety Magazine, “an averted school violence incident is a violent attack planned with or without the use of a firearm that was prevented either before or after the potential perpetrator arrived on school grounds and before any injury or loss of life occurred.”
It’s important because there is some evidence to suggest that for every incident of school violence that does occur, there are significantly more incidents that are prevented. By understanding some of the tactics used to successfully prevent an incident, schools can incorporate lessons learned into their own emergency preparedness policies and procedures.
According to a report by The Police Foundation, some of the lessons learned from averted school shooting incidents include a number of things schools can do including:
- having a strong and pre-established relationship between a school and their local law enforcement
- teaching student to recognize and report concerning behavior they see or hear from other students (peer discovery of the plot accounted for more than half of the averted incidents studied by The Police Foundation)
- teaching parents to monitor their students’ social media accounts
- teaching parents to keep their guns in a locked and secure location at their home
- having faculty, staff, campus security, and other adults at the school develop and maintain a rapport with the students at the school, and teaching these adults to recognize when students are being bullied or are acting in unusual ways
- continual drilling and updating of the school’s emergency action plan
Incidents of school violence can be averted, and school administrators should do everything they can to prevent such events. Tips like those above combined with a risk assessment, improvement in security systems and policies, and training of all involved can help make schools a safer place for faculty, staff, and students.
It seems that our society has become numb to school shootings. We hear about the big ones like Santa Fe High School where eight students and two teachers were killed this past May. But did you know there were at least five other school shootings within just a number of weeks of that shooting?
Campus Safety Magazine did a roundup of these events, and it’s a powerful reminder that school shootings are happening way too frequently.
- Great Mills, MD – a 17-year-old shot two students (a 16-year-old who died and a 14-year-old who survived), with the shooter dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound
- Ocala, FL – a 19-year-old shot one student (a 17-year-old who survived)
- Palmdale, CA – a 14-year-old shot one student (a 15-year-old who survived)
- Dixon, IL – a 19-year-old fired several rounds at a group of senior students (no students were hit or injured during the shooting)
- Noblesville, IN – a 13-year-old shot one student and one teacher (a 13-year-old who survived and a 29-year-old who survived)
These events all happened within a two-month time period; that’s less than ten weeks! And most likely you only heard about the Santa Fe incident where eight students and two teachers were killed. We are too inured to these events.
According to Campus Safety Magazine, school resource officers (SROs), teachers, and students all did a good job at each of these locations of mitigating the number of people shot because they had been trained on what to do during an active shooter event. Active shooter drills are so important to keep faculty, staff, and students safe in the education environment. But don’t forget about all the levels of security that can be implemented before a shooter would have access to students – perimeter fences and gates, exterior cameras, closed and locked exterior doors, robust visitor management including video intercom for building access, interior cameras, interior door card access, and training of faculty and staff on how to look out for suspicious and unusual activity by their students. We mourn the loss of children and teachers killed while at school, and we hope that all schools will implement security measure to keep their people safe.
Security upgrades cost money. Money doesn’t grow on trees. We get it.
If it were up to us and money were not an issue, we would have all businesses and schools install the latest and greatest equipment to keep their people safe. But we live in the real world where money is not unlimited and where line items need to be justified. This is why having Invictus Consulting perform a risk assessment for your organization and crate a roadmap for you based on the results is one of the best things you can do before going in front of your board. Data can help just justify security-related budget items.