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Guide for Improving School Safety Available




Naomi Millán June 15, 2016 - Emergency Preparedness

A guide on screening for safety hazards in school facilities is available as an evaluation copy from the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, a resource from the National Institute of Building Sciences. The draft version of Integrated Rapid Visual Screening of Schools: A How-to Guide to Mitigate Multihazard Effects Against School Facilities (IRVS), is being made available so practitioners, such as facility managers, can provide feedback on the information and procedures the guide covers, and to help develop a software tool.

The guide was recently discussed as part of a presentation on creating safe schools at the American Institute of Architects conference in Philadelphia. During "Creating Safe and Secure School Facilities," presenters discussed key premises of increasing school safety through design, such as creating elements to deter a criminal, help school officials detect a threat, delay intruder access to students, and — as the last layer — help the students and teachers defend themselves.

Elements should serve to protect against multiple hazards. For example, presenters recommended that schools keep the hardened corridor wall, constructed of brick or cinder block, instead of what has become the current practice of drywall because it boosts security both for active shooter and severe weather scenarios. The occupants would move out of the rooms during severe weather and huddle in the interior corridor.

The IRVS guide is designed to help inform the design process for new construction of school facilities and also help existing school facilities evaluate the existing building for weaknesses. It is available for free download here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor of Building Operating Management magazine, naomi.millan@tradepress.com. For more information on creating safe schools, go to http://www.facilitiesnet.com/14499bom

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