Along with providing our students with a high-quality education, another responsibility is to keep our students safe. Schools achieve this goal in many different ways. School leaders are required to take emergency management courses. Faculty and staff receive professional development around procedures and safe guards to implement in their classrooms. Our entire school community practices many different drills throughout the year to prepare us in case of an emergency.
In each of our schools, we have a written emergency plan and have developed procedures for when an incident occurs. As a district, we have “sister” schools and those key personnel members have visited our school to understand our layout and plans. District administration, building principals and chiefs of both police and fire departments gather for quarterly meetings run by our superintendent.
Here is a brief overview of the different drills we practice:
Reverse evacuation—use this when students are outside of their classrooms on the playground (i.e., thunderstorm, unknown animal on the playground) or even in the multi-purpose room. Bring students back into a secure location to keep safe and take attendance.
Fire drill—when smoke and/or fire occurs in the building our students leave the building through our emergency exit doors to our designated location and attendance is taken.
Shelter-in place—can be used for a variety of reasons where students need to be in the classrooms and not out in the hallways (i.e., hazardous materials near campus, sick child/adult needing emergency services).
Drop & cover—used for a tornado or earthquake. Students get under a sturdy desk or table, cover their heads and wait for the storm to pass.
Lockdown—used for when students and staff need to be protected, quiet and not seen.In emergency situations, parents also play a large role and can help make these situations more manageable and successful. It is important for parents to:
Keep accurate and up-to-date information on file in the office (i.e., home phone #’s/work phone #’s/cell phones #’s and names of other emergency contact people).
It is important that if we are having an emergency at school, parents don’t rush to the school. Driving to school and causing traffic back-ups will delay the emergency response time of fire, police and/or EMT.
Please don’t call the school. We need the phone lines open to make important calls (bus company, SAU office, etc.).
Do not contact your child via his/her cell phone.
We will notify parents, using our Alert-Now system, of important information and provide updates as necessary.
In one of my training sessions, the trainer said, “Our school’s emergency plan is like insurance…once you have it, you hope you never have to use it.”