A Successful Year Begins with a Vulnerability Assessment
How a Vulnerability Assessment is the first step in a school safety plan.
It’s January, which means everyone is talking about their resolutions. I get it; I’m guilty of it too. Every year I have grand goals to get healthier, save more money, keep a cleaner house, and the list goes on and on. The funny thing about goals is that they’re no different than a dream if there isn’t a plan to get you there. More often than I’d like to admit my resolutions fall in that dream category because I haven’t taken the proper steps to plan how to achieve my goal.
Proper planning has to begin with a reality check. Sometimes, this can be a hard pill to swallow when working on a personal improvement plan. There’s a level of honesty that a person has to have about their own shortcomings that can be uncomfortable. But once an individual looks in the mirror, and is honest with themselves, then he or she has the power to overcome those deficiencies. With clarity, they are emboldened to make the changes they want to see in their life.
The same approach applies across all markets, not just personal improvement. In education, August, the academic equivalent of the new year, is spent making resolutions that, while well-intentioned, are often forgotten when the halls fill with children and the reality of the day-to-day running of a school has set in. Safety is almost always at the top of those resolutions, but there has to be a plan in place. And to create that plan, an honest look has to be taken at the school. The best way to do this is with a Vulnerability Assessment (VA). This is a methodical review of security weaknesses. It evaluates the facility’s vulnerabilities and recommends solutions to negate those weaknesses.
Vulnerability Assessments are often done free of charge by local law enforcement or military who are experts on situational awareness. Parents or concerned community members can even help arrange or gift a VA to their local schools to help with the safety plan. As with personal resolutions, the goal of safety is just a dream until there’s a plan that starts with an honest look at the gaps in security.
The person conducting the assessment will spend a significant amount of time examining every inch of the property, looking for blind spots and threats that often the people working in that environment daily have become impervious to. They’re also using their expertise on the way criminal minds work to identify vulnerabilities the average person would be completely unaware of. When the assessment is complete, the findings will be written up along with suggestions on how best to correct any shortcomings and reinforce any existing security measures. Once the recommendations have been made, a plan can be formulated so that the resolution, or goal, of a safe school, can be achieved.
The next hurdle when trying to achieve school safety and security goals is often funding. Depending on the state, grants are often available to help offset costs. However, Status Solutions has multiple ways to combat the often paralyzing issue of lack of funds. First, we offer our SARA (Situational Awareness and Response Assistant) technology to schools across the country through a Grant of Use. This gives schools immediate access to real-time automated alerting and mass notification, while Status Solutions takes away the burden of cost. Once a school begins using our life-safety technology, SARA, through the Grant of Use, they become a member of the Status Solutions Network. This opens up a franchise opportunity for community-minded individuals to create a livelihood that provides continual revenue to the school for any and all needs while allowing the franchisee to continue to grow and advance their business as well. With this model, the school will always have access to the latest and most advanced situational awareness technology, so that no matter what a vulnerability assessment determines, a plan can be formed and the goal of school safety achieved.
And while schools may be the topic of this conversation, the reality is that all businesses should conduct yearly vulnerability assessments to properly protect their people and their products. When was the last time your school or place of work had a vulnerability assessment? Status Solutions can help you create a situational awareness plan to reach all your safety goals.
About the Author
Laura Hartman is a former English teacher. Currently she is a Marketing Specialist for Status Solutions in Westerville, Ohio, where she calls upon her years of experience in the classroom to aid the company’s mission of protecting the vulnerable and preventing violence in schools.