NJ School Emergency Preparedness and Built Environment Aspects Related to Gun Violence

In accordance with New Jersey (NJ) state administrative code, the NJ Safe Schools Program (NJSS) reviews safety and health (S&H) plans regarding environmental health and safety regulations for secondary school career-technical-vocational (CTE) and career orientation programs in hazardous occupations at least once every five years. Plans form with the goal of reducing injury and illness and increasing safety practices among CTE school staff and students.

To broaden the scope of emergency preparedness awareness, we developed a survey to assess built environment factors among teachers in secondary school settings as the final activity of workplace violence prevention within our in-person OSHA 10 Plus-General Industry training, one of four required trainings for CTE teacher supervisory certification.

The survey consisted of 14 items to assess current levels of emergency preparedness; confidence in student emergency preparedness; and, perceived effectiveness of emergency preparedness practices. Data assisted in identifying hazards of greatest concern, teacher and student reactions to existing emergency preparedness practices, and aspects of the school built environment potentially serving as a barrier or facilitator to a range of school emergencies (including fire safety and gun violence prevention).

Between January-August 2019, participant data from 7/8 trainings were obtained (N=122, n=117 completed survey, average per training=17-18, range 7-30). We stratified de-identified data by gender and region of state based on reported course registration information.

We will present our initial recommendations for school safety practices based upon findings, helped inform a statewide survey in 2020, which is now funded by the Rutgers Center for Gun Violence Research.

Project Status
In progress

Principal Investigator (PI):
Derek G. Shendell, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Rutgers – New Brunswick