Families should familiarize themselves with some of the common protocols and terms we use during an emergency.
Listed below are a few of the most common protocols and drills that are practiced and families should be familiar with. Click the headings below to further elaborate on the protocol. 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.
Lock-Downs are usually in response to acts or threats of violence to students and/or staff directly impacting the school. During a Lock-Down students and staff must respond very quickly to get to a safe location before doors are locked. No one is permitted in or out of any area once it has been locked. No one, other than law enforcement, is permitted access to the building until the Lock-Down is over.
Hold and Secure
Hold and Secure is used in response to security threats or criminal activity outside the school. During a Hold and Secure, all entrance doors to the school are locked, with no one permitted in or out of the building. No one, other than law enforcement, is permitted access to the building until the Hold and Secure has been cleared.
Generally, Shelter-in-Place is used during an environmental emergency, such as severe storms or chemical spills. During a Shelter-in-Place, students and staff retreat to safe zones to seek shelter. This includes having students or staff who are outdoors come back into the school. Each school’s emergency response plan identifies the safest location for its occupants and how to seal a room from hazardous conditions. Students will not be released or dismissed until the situation has been resolved.
An Evacuation requires all students and staff to leave the school and go to an alternate location. This may mean only going outside and away from the building until it is safe to re-enter the school. In other cases, students and staff may need to go to an evacuation center. Parents will be informed of the alternate location through the school’s Crisis Notification Network.
Under some circumstances it may be determined that it is best to dismiss students to their homes and families as expeditiously as possible. Should this be the case, every attempt will be made to alert the emergency contact for each student of the situation and to ensure young students are not left unsupervised.