Back to School Safety Basics: Secured Shelving

by | Nov 11, 2022 | 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.

In 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.

There’s a viral video that shows two-year-old twins climbing a dresser in their bedroom. Using the drawers as steps, they were about halfway up when the dresser came down, briefly trapping one of the toddlers underneath. Fortunately, both boys were unharmed.

When doing Security and Vulnerability Assessments, we would often find shelves in K12 schools unsecured to a wall or free standing in the middle of a room. When it comes to school safety, a best practice is all shelving over three feet tall be secured to the wall or the floor. This includes everything from bookshelves to storage cubbies found in both classrooms and hallways.



Unsecured Shelving



Secured Shelving

In 2003, a six-year-old in an Ohio school was killed during an after school program when a folding table like shown in the photo above fell over on him. The student was riding on the table as it was being put back into place. To prevent such tragedies it is recommended these tables be secured to the wall when not in use.

I can’t tell how many schools I visit that have their unused tables folded up and lining a wall in the cafeteria or a hallway as shown below:

Is it easier to fold and stack unused tables – especially knowing they’ll be used the next day?  Of course.  We’re all busy wearing 5 hats at once these days.  Let’s not overlook simple, basic measures we can and should take to keep our students safe.

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

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