Target Hardening Procedures for Schools

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After September 11, 2001, it seemed completely obvious for Russian public safety, emergency management and counter-terrorism professionals to take precautionary measures to prevent terrorists from using airplanes as weapons. Following the catastrophic school siege in Russia, the United States must learn from the tragedy of others and implement more stringent school safety procedures. As part of a comprehensive “all hazards” emergency preparedness plan, school officials should develop procedures for enhancing security at all schools.

Target hardening procedures are designed to improve safety and present a stronger security posture; thereby making the school a less attractive target. Enhancements should focus on strengthening three key areas: exterior security, interior security and policy. Exterior security enhancements are designed to do such things as expose surveillance, make entry onto the campus more noticeable and display an obvious security presence. These exterior enhancements should include such measures as arranging for local law enforcement to be present at student arrival and departure times, restricting vehicular access near school entrances and eliminating outdoor activities.

Interior security enhancements should be geared towards preventing unauthorized access while school is in session and implementing tested lockdown procedures. These lockdown procedures should clearly identify communication guidelines for enacting a lockdown, non-secure areas within the school and reverse evacuation instructions. Reverse evacuation is used to move a large number of persons into a school for protection from an outside hazard.

And lastly, emergency preparedness related policies should be developed to address when these measures are to be enacted; i.e. An increase of the Homeland Security Threat Level or a manhunt for a dangerous person proximate to the school. Policies should also outline areas of responsibility and deactivation protocols.

S.A.F.E. Consulting provides nationwide security analysis and consultation services, as well as the development of emergency management software called Emergency Information Systems. S.A.F.E.’s programs have been endorsed by the Missouri School Boards’ Association as a Best Practice in school safety.

Anyone interested in more information about Homeland Security Related Services provided by S.A.F.E. Consulting, L.L.C. may contact Spicer at 866-210-S-A-F-E or [email protected]

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Brad Spicer
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