Lockdown of four schools highlights importance of being able to communicate during emergencies

Last week, four schools in the South London (Croydon) area went into lockdown following reports and sightings of a man in the surrounding area armed with a gun.  They remained in lockdown during 10 hours of police negotiations.

Whilst this is a situation we hope never happens again, how well equipped would you be to effectively communicate during a period of standoff or lockdown? Could you quickly and efficiently contact everyone on campus to ensure they’re accounted for and informed about what they need to do?

As a business we’ve worked with hundreds of schools across the country and have recently been working with an increasing number to ensure they’re ready should such a situation arise.

So what do you really need to have in place?

When we recently spoke with one of the schools we’ve worked with they explained; “As an older Victorian school our site is quirky, so if a lockdown protocol has been activated we need to be able to know if everyone is accounted for without having to move between rooms and buildings. We also need to be able to confirm that the external gates are secure and that certain classrooms have visibility of the entrances that would be blind to the office team.”

Whilst every school is different in size, layout, access and nature, they all share these common needs in order to effectively respond to a lockdown situation. So how can you answer them? Here are just a few solutions you could and should be looking at…

Do you need a single tannoy system or individual phones in your classrooms?

The answer is that at different times you often need both; a tannoy system is great for communicating messages across the whole school in one go, but if you need to contact an individual room or building discretely then you’re going to need individual handsets.

With our phone systems handsets are actually able to fulfil the purpose of both; they can behave as part of a larger tannoy group as and when you need or want them to, whilst also working individually as discretely as possible in a lockdown scenario.

If your phone system can’t do this then the question you need to ask is whether or not you’re fully equipped to handle such a scenario. 

Improving daily communication

We know that budgets are tight, so the thought of adding extra expense for events or situations that may never take place can seem unpalatable at times.  However, it’s important to highlight that you’re not only proactively protecting those onsite should a lockdown occur, you can also improve daily communication at the same time; no more walking to classrooms to find a pupil or to contact a staff member, no more long email distribution lists if a message about weather conditions or sports day needs to be quickly dispersed.

The schools we work with are ensuring they’re able to respond to the worst case scenario, whilst also improving their daily communication; saving time and money as a result.

Ensuring staff and pupil safety…

Ensuring the safety of your staff and pupils will always be of vital importance to you, so have you ever considered what would happen if a teacher or pupil were to be attacked in a classroom or somewhere on site? We’re able to link our phone systems to allow teachers to quickly highlight issues through the press of one button. The quickness of response in these situations can often be the difference between a minor incident and a major one.

For more information on how we can help your school respond to serious incidents or just improve your daily communication please give us a call on 01237 420010.


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We’re specialists in helping organisations like yours find and implement phone systems that not only handle your calls, but add value to your organisation. Our personal approach means you'll get great service from start to finish.

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Installing a new phone system or changing supplier can be a big decision; you want to make sure you’re teaming up with the right people. We've been specialising in phone systems and technology for more than twenty five years.

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