First Responders have long asked schools to label building exits (on the inside as well as the outside!) to facilitate better communication and faster response in an emergency.  This process can be time consuming and costly for busy, financially strapped school communities.
Undaunted, one Ohio Eagle Scout helped his school district by organizing the project himself. He consulted local responders, school officials, and area businesses to plan and carry out the project. He even organized a band of area scouts to canvas the district and pitch in.  The project was completed district-wide in less than a week with no financial or time cost to the schools. Because of this Scout’s attention to detail and duty, the project was completed with 100% accuracy and the schools in his community are now safer.
It is worth noting that this dedicated, young community servant is also autistic…AND truly inspiring!
Even after the Sandy Hook tragedy, many schools still do not provide substitute and itinerant staff with classroom keys because of the risk and expense associated with lost or unreturned keys.
A practical-minded school secretary uses this procedure to be sure that ALL staff are equipped with keys to secure their location and protect lives in a security emergency:
When subs and itinerant staff report to the front office to sign in, she offers classroom keys in exchange for car keys.  She holds the car keys until staff return to sign out.  Since no one can leave without their car keys, it is easy to remember to sign out and return classroom keys at the end of the day!  On the rare occasion that a staff member doesn’t have car keys, she suggests collecting another item not easily left behind!  Easy, practical, and inspiring!

Lisa Crane of the ALICE Training Institute shared this practical lockdown solution.  Furniture outfitted with rolling and locking casters can be quickly rolled in front of a locked, classroom door, providing an additional layer of protection inside the classroom during a lockdown scenario.

Salem, New Hampshire Police Department’s SRO, Matthew Norcross came up with a way to expedite police responses by putting older, unused police radios to use in schools.  He stationed the retired radios in local schools and programmed them to call local police with the press of a button.  Police receive the name of the school signaling the alert and begin two-way communication instantly, and without the delay often caused by other emergency notification or systems.  The police and schools worked together to develop procedures for use, practice, and regular testing of the radios.  For more information on this program, contact SRO Norcross at

yardsoflove2Many schools make use of easily available lanyards for staff badges, classroom keys, swipe cards, and essential information such as emergency procedure cards and class lists.  In a program called “Yards of Love,” Ashleigh Shields, of Independence, Kentucky used her sewing skills and creativity to raise funds and safety awareness for her school community.  She custom made fashion lanyards for staff members, reminding the school community to keep these items on hand and at the ready for school safety. For more information on Yards of Love, contact Ashleigh at

Several of our followers (SRO’s, teachers, and even a grandfather!) have shared ideas on helping students and staff prepare for quicker and less stressful lockdown procedures and practice.  We’ve combined all of the ideas in this graphic to show a predetermined, “out of sight” spot for students and staff during lockdowns.

Note that the location pictured keeps students and staff out of sight while allowing them to safely and quickly leave their “out of sight” spot if it becomes dangerous.  An “out of sight” spot should never confine or restrict safety options of students and staff in a lockdown.  It’s also important to consider several “out of sight” spots depending the special needs and number of room occupants.