Emergency Response Program – Hour Zero
Schools are considered to be one of the safest places in our communities. However, in reality, an emergency can occur anywhere at any time.
DURING ANY EMERGENCY, OUR FIRST PRIORITY is the safety of our students and staff.
In order to provide an effective response to any school crisis or emergency, Black Gold School Division uses the Hour-Zero School Emergency Program in conjunction with other local emergency plans and is also guided by the Leduc and Area Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) and Intervention Protocol.
Our Hour Zero program has individual school emergency plans as well as a Division Plan that are reviewed annually and after an emergency occurs. There is an on-site School/Site Emergency Response Team (SERT) at each school, along with a Division-based Administrative Command Team (ACT) for emergency responses that provides support and aid to schools at time of an emergency.Full PDF Summary
Training and Drills
All staff is regularly trained on emergency protocols. THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, SCHOOLS CONDUCT TRAINING AND DRILLS to rehearse emergency procedures and help better prepare students and staff for possible emergency situations. These exercises prepare students and staff to act quickly and help to minimize a child’s fear during a real emergency.
Although standardized protocols and procedures provide the basis for our response, the way in which we respond to an emergency is greatly influenced by the specifics of an incident. We are driven foremost by our concern of ensuring student and staff safety.
Our Division collaborates closely with local emergency personnel to ensure plans are coordinated with appropriate agencies. The Division’s plans do not replace the authority of law enforcement, fire or EMS – staff members work in full cooperation with these agencies.
Families should familiarize themselves with some of the common protocols and terms we use during an emergency. When a school is confronted with an emergency, staff will assess the situation and then decide on a course of action. In addition to the procedures described below, schools also practice protocols such as “Drop-Cover-Hold,” a method of protecting vital body parts during some natural disasters, and conduct fire drills.Key Protocols
Reuniting with your Child
We recognize that when an emergency occurs parents will be worried and want to be reunited with their child as quickly as possible. It is our intention to make this happen. However, to ensure every child’s safety and the safety of staff, specific procedures have been established for releasing students. These procedures may be modified depending on the circumstance. Parents are asked to adhere to the parent-child reunification procedures listed below. Staff will work hard to ensure these procedures take place without delay. However, please understand the process will take some time: we ask for your patience when you arrive at the Parent-Child Reunion Area.Reunion Procedures
Communicating During an Emergency
When an emergency occurs, please do not come to the school to pick up your child unless requested to do so. Doing so could impede the response to the situation and also interfere with emergency crews’ and school personnel’s efforts to deal with the emergency. Extra vehicles and people at the site make the task
more difficult. Please follow the instructions provided to you through the communications channels outlined below.
If you arrive at the school in the midst of an emergency, please respect the protocol in progress. While we understand personal circumstances or initial reactions might move you to do something contrary to the school’s established procedures, we cannot compromise the safety of students or staff to accommodate individual requests that could put anyone at risk.
Do not call the school. Do not call your child’s cell phone.
- Phone systems need to remain available for handling the actual emergency.
- Overloading the system may mean the school cannot communicate with first responders.
- Calling your child’s cell phone during an emergency may be putting them at higher risk by disclosing their location or drawing attention to them during a lock-down.
Keeping You Informed
During an emergency, our FIRST PRIORITY is to protect students and staff. Next, we will do everything in our power to keep you informed. Specific procedures must be followed prior to releasing information. We will communicate with you once it is safe and we are able.Emergency Communication Channels
PLEASE rely on the Division and our schools for accurate, dependable, firsthand details and updates. We are the credible source.