By Leah Schmidt 2013-11-30 12:31:05
Safe and Sound While I hope you read every issue of School Nutrition, I want to encourage you strongly to not miss any of this month’s features—as well as the additional bonus content you’ll find online at School Nutrition.org—because the articles include important information to help keep you safe—on and off the job. The issue coincides with the first anniversary of the horrifying violence at Sandy Hook Elementary. It’s a sad reality that there are no guarantees for our personal safety today and that we always must be on guard and vigilant at home and at work. But it’s a reality that demands our attention, preparation and response. For the last eight years, I have served as building administrator at my office. Among my duties is development of an Emergency Operations Preparedness Plan— something I never thought that I, as a school nutrition director, would have to manage! But preparing drills for manmade and natural disasters forces one to reflect on what’s required to get through a crisis—and I found myself thinking not only of my own safety, but that of all my staff and our students in a very serious way. Here in my district, we have been fortunate not to have experienced a genuine emergency with lives at stake. But the same can’t be said for many of my colleagues around the country. Some quick thinking and well-trained school nutrition staff actually have saved lives in the most unimaginable circumstances, while others have acted as first responders and caregivers after a disaster. Having an emergency plan is essential; with hope, you will never need to put it into action, but never forget that lives literally depend on it. Remember also that being safe at work means being mindful in guarding against accidents. I am proud when our department has fewer Workers’ Compensation claims than other district departments, especially when you consider that our employees regularly work with sharp objects and fire! Research shows that better-trained employees have fewer work-related accidents— another good reason to advocate for staff development. As this magazine arrives, most of us will be busy preparing for the December holidays. I hope that as you make a little time to read through this issue, you also will make time to plan for SNA’s upcoming Legislative Action Conference in March; you will find more details on page 38 and online. Advocacy in Washington for our programs is so important—I hope to see record-breaking attendance in taking our stories to Capitol Hill. In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! Leah Schmidt, SNS SNA President
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