Back to School Safety Basics: Common Custodial Oversights

by | Dec 9, 2022 | Back to School Safety, Back to School Safety Basics, Gary's Blog

School safety is not just Active Shooters. School personnel needs to be trained in all hazards. Security and Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs) can be used to identify both risks and best practices in a school. Once risks are identified, an abatement plan can be developed to eliminate and mitigate risks.

Continuing this blog series, I’m encouraging my readers to review Back to School Safety Basics: From unsecured shelving to proper hand-washing to ensuring reflective tape is displayed on certain surfaces.

One group of employees we sometimes overlook when developing our Emergency Operation Plans (EOP) and Incident Action Plans (IAP) are the building custodians and the school or district’s maintenance department.  Your building custodians know the building, have keys to all the rooms, and know where and how to shut off the utilities.  Because they are not directly responsible for working with students they are free to work in the school’s Command Post and coordinate with First Responders.  Your maintenance department travels around the school or district every day and knows when vehicles and people look out of place.  It is important to include both groups in your emergency management planning.

Remember, don’t overlook the simple, low-cost high-return steps in promoting a safe environment.  Below are a few common custodial oversights found on school property:



This pipe, located in a custodial area, should have padding in place to avoid injury.



All restrooms should have hand washing signs and evacuation maps.



All custodial panels must have 3 feet of clearance; there are multiple objects located less than 3 feet away in this picture.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) says dumpsters should be located at least 25 feet from the building to prevent access to the roof.

Dumpster lids should also be secured to prevent illegal dumping.

What is a basic measure of security you enforce in your school?

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