Technology can be a very
effective tool for communication during an
Common tools include the following:
- It is recommended that schools should have at
least one unpublished number. Check with the phone
company to see if there are unused lines in the
school’s control panel which could be activated if
needed. Use standard jacks and mark them clearly so
emergency personnel can find them. There are
automated phone systems for contacting
"sub-populations" within your school instantly.
They can be very effective in getting a quick
standardized message to staff and/or parents.
systems – Ideally, systems should include
teacher-initiated communications with the office and
use a handset rather than a wall-mounted speaker.
Instructions for use of the intercom system should
be posted near the controls in the office area.
and megaphones - Battery-powered megaphones can
be effective for communication in an emergency. One
should be part of the school’s emergency toolbox.
Procedures governing storage and use will help
Two-way radios provide a reliable method of
communication between rooms and buildings at a
single site. All staff should be trained to operate
the 2-way radio. It is suggested that one be
available for the principal, assistant principal,
School Resource Officer, custodians, guidance
counselors, secretary and for a representative from
each grade level. A designated teacher from each
grade level should be given one during a crisis. It
is recommended that the school have an extra one
available in the office to be used as needed during
a crisis situation.
Remember that some electronic devices can trigger
bombs. A designated frequency on two-way
radios should be shared with Emergency Responders to
act as a redundant communication mode.
- Existing computers may be used for communication
both within the school and to other sites. E-mail
may be a useful tool for updating information for
staff, Central Office, other schools in an affected
area, and possibly for other agencies.
machines – Possible uses include an off-campus
where lists of students and staff members are
involved, their locations, and needed telephone
numbers can be quickly and accurately communicated.
Medical information, release forms, and
authorizations can be faxed and returned in
telephones – These phones may be the only tool
working when electric service is out; they are
useful to staff who may be en route to or from a
site. Be aware however, that cell phones are often
the first form of communication to fail in a large
scale emergency (this is due to overloading
networks). They can also trigger bombs.
buttons” - “Panic buttons” may be connected
directly to the police or other emergency services.
In some communities, there is an immediate response;
in others, the police or fire departments call the
school to confirm the emergency.
systems – Bells or buzzers which may be sounded
in different ways to signal different types of
emergencies - for example, fire, severe weather, or
special alert (with instructions to follow). When
possible verbal commands should be given in plain
language (do not rely upon code words or phrases).
This process simply decreases the chance
for error or misunderstanding.