Finding a "Happy Medium" for School Safety

Understanding Reasonable Foreseeability in All Hazards Planning

by John Baker, Certified Protection Professional (CPP), IU13 Safety and Security Manager

Police checking IDEvery school (and large building/facility) should have an all-hazards vulnerability study conducted by a qualified professional. After all, how else is a school able to prevent, prepare, or respond to hazards if they don’t have some idea of what hazards they are most vulnerable to?

However, the problem arises when a vulnerability study is so narrow that it only focuses on something like “active intruders” or so broad that you find yourself writing plans to prepare for falling asteroids and Ninjas parachuting onto your roof. These overly broad surveys can be distracting and sap limited resources away from more relevant areas of all hazards preparation. So where can we find that happy medium?

As a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), I often rely on a legal standard called reasonable foreseeability when conducting a vulnerability study. This principle takes into account these key factors:
  • Past history. Is there a pattern of events that would put a school “on notice”? For example, if a school has had three accidents involving injuries in their chemistry lab, you could reasonably foresee another incident unless there were changes made.
  • Best practices. It could be as simple as the long-standing practice of ensuring that perimeter doors are secured (thus controlling building access), to more contemporary strategies of providing options for staff and students to “run, hide, or fight” if necessary.


Once a study is complete, a full report is provided for your review and discussion. Findings (a.k.a., recommended changes) are also provided for your consideration, so that you can strategically enhance the safety and security of your facility.

Conducting a vulnerability study every few years, as part of the routine safety and security measures of your school and/or business, is highly recommended! 

If you would like to learn more about vulnerability studies, please feel free to contact me at John Baker, 717-606-1629.