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Low-Cost and No-Cost Safety Strategies

School budgets are tight, but there are still many things school leaders can do to keep schools safe.

# The five-minute safety rule. Take five minutes at every faculty meeting to discuss one topic from your school's safety or crisis plan.

# Diversify drills. Conduct lockdown drills during nontraditional times such as lunch periods, during student arrival, and just prior to dismissal. Block exits (unannounced) during fire drills to teach students and staff to think on their feet. Lock down one section of your school while evacuating another area during the same drill.

# Engage students. Draw students into school safety plans through student-leader group discussions, poster contests and increasing awareness of drills. Train students not to open exterior doors for strangers during the school day.

# Reach out to nontraditional partners. Work with your county emergency management agency (EMA) to update crisis plans, participate in drills with first-responders, and collaborate on joint applications for security grants.

# Hold mini-tabletop exercises. Build abbreviated tabletop scenarios into faculty meetings and districtwide principal meetings several times during each school year.

# Conduct safety roundtables. Add an agenda item to district principal meetings