School Emergency Information
How We Prepare for Emergencies
We have emergency supplies.
Schools have emergency supplies, including first aid supplies and other basic necessities. These supplies are inspected regularly and used during drills.
We conduct regular drills.
Schools conduct regular emergency drills. Every elementary school conducts one fire drill a month and high schools conduct one every semester. In addition, schools conduct at least two emergency drills a year. Each school has an Emergency Readiness Plan customized to each individual school’s needs that plans for all kinds of hazards and emergency situations.
Keep yourself informed.
Keep yourself informed of school procedures by attending parent meetings, reading the student-parent handbook, and school newsletter, and checking the school website periodically. Attend emergency drills at your child’s school, and make sure that your family is prepared for emergencies, too.
Emergency Response Definitions
An Evacuation is called when there are conditions inside the school building that are unsafe. Students and staff evacuate the building to an outside location. Students and staff assemble at pre-determined locations away from the school buildings. A “fire drill” is an evacuation. Other reasons for evacuation may include utility outage, gas leak, chemical spill, hazardous material incident, and flooding.
An off-site evacuation may be necessary depending on the extent of damage caused by the incident. If this occurs, school district officials will coordinate bussing students to a safe off-campus location (ex. another school, church, or community building). Instructions to pick up students will be sent out by the district automated phone, text, or email system.
Shelter in Place
A Shelter in Place is called when students and staff need to be inside the building for safety. During Shelter in Place, students and staff are moved (or remain) in their classrooms and normal classroom activities continue until the incident concludes. Shelter in place is used to provide protection against the outdoor environment.
A Lockdown is called when there is an immediate threat or hazard on the school campus. Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms, doors and windows are locked, and lights are shut off. Classroom activities seize until incident concludes. School administrators and district officials work with local first responders to maximize student safety.
Lockdowns are implemented for a variety of reasons, including intruder/suspicious person, active shooter, bomb, severe weather, and police suspect loose.
Parent-Student Reunification is a process where parents will be asked to pick up their students from school in formalized, controlled release. Reunification may be necessary due to weather, a power outage, hazmat, or if a crisis occurs at the school. The goal of reunification is that all students remain safe while in the school’s care and that all students are reunited with their families.
School Response to Emergencies
If There is an Emergency at School
If there is an emergency at school, school personnel have been trained and will react quickly to protect children. If the emergency is a fire, students will evacuate to their Assembly Area until authorities determine that it is safe to re-enter the buildings. Students will not return to classrooms until doing so is not a possible danger to them.
In rare instances, where more distance is needed to ensure student safety, students may be relocated to another school site. Parents will be advised of all relocations through Bright Arrow automated phone message.
If there is a hazard outside, such as a report of a person in the area with a gun, or a nearby chemical release, students will be brought inside, where the building itself will help protect them from danger. Schools will act to protect students and are prepared to shelter the students inside classrooms for hours if necessary. If students are held for a lengthy period of time, there are plans in place for emergency food, medical and restroom needs – these plans vary depending on the nature of the danger to students.
If there is an emergency at school, you will generally see one of two scenarios when you arrive at the school. You may see all of the students outside in the Assembly Area, if the building is potentially dangerous to the students, or you will see no one outside, because there is a potential hazard outside of the school, and officials are keeping the children inside, and using the building to help shield the students from harm.
Depending on the situation, you may not be able to get close to the school and may be asked to wait in a safe area near the school. If it is hazardous for students to be released, everyone will be kept inside the school until they are notified by the authorities that it is safe. Schools will act with the safety of students in mind, and school officials will always follow the directives of the police department and the fire department.
Communicating with the School During an Emergency
Schools communicate regularly with parents using Bright Arrow, through which parents receive automated calls regarding school situations, including emergencies. If you are not receiving Bright Arrow messages, check with your child’s school to ensure that the school has the correct number for you. It is imperative that we have phone numbers to contact you during an emergency. Make sure you update your school emergency card and contact information for each child each time the information changes. Keep your phone with you during emergencies so that you can receive updates on the emergency by Bright Arrow automated messaging service. Make sure you keep your address and phone numbers updated with the school so that you can be notified in the event of emergencies.
Schools have numerous ways to communicate with their own staff, other schools and district personnel, and outside agencies that may respond in the event of an emergency. These methods include a public address system and two-way radios, so that a school need not rely on the phone system.
Depending on the emergency, you may not be able to get close to the school and may be asked to wait in a safe area near the school. If it is hazardous for students to be released, everyone will be kept inside the school until notified by the authorities that it is safe outside. Schools will act with the safety of students in mind, and school officials will always follow the directives of the police department and the fire department.
Keep yourself informed of school procedures by attending parent meetings, reading the student-parent handbook, and school newsletter, and checking the school website periodically. Attend emergency drills, and ask about emergency plans when you visit the school.
Family Reunification after an Emergency
When it is safe to pick up your child following an emergency, you will need to follow a special process to ensure everyone’s safety. The Request Gate is the station set up to identify yourself to school staff and request that your child be sent out. You must bring I.D., and you must be listed on the child’s emergency card in order to check a child out. You will then report to the Reunion Gate, where your child will be brought to you. Separating the two gates keeps crowding down, and lessens anxiety for children who may become frightened by a large crowd of parents.
Keep yourself informed of school procedures by attending parent meetings, reading the student-parent handbook, and school newsletter, and checking the school website periodically. Make sure your family is prepared for emergencies, too.
Although there are people assigned to answer phones at school, during an emergency these lines are likely to be overloaded, and are not your best source of information. For school emergency information, check the following sources:
- PUSD Home Page
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