09 Emergency Response Language

Emergency response is a reality that all schools have to consider. Whether it’s a tornado or fire drill or anticipating an active threat situation, having common language is important in these situations. Over the summer, in addition to completing the District’s Emergency Operations Plan, administrators reviewed their language to emergency response. These posters are being displayed across the District and in classrooms as a visual reminder of what key words mean. 

Processes for a tornado or fire are practiced several times a year with students and staff. On the bottom of the poster, it is indicated that during a fire, evacuation protocols are used, and during a tornado, students and staff would proceed to the designated shelter in the building. Other unique situations are much more fluid and may require ALICE protocols where both Lockdown and Evacuation are viable options depending on available information. This is where having common language is important. 

These posters reflect four key areas that are essential to understanding emergency protocols. One custom section is titled Hold-in-Place. This would be used when a non-imminent threat is occurring within the building. Examples could include a temporary medical or behavioral situation in the building where a building administrator or designee would like to limit movement in a particular area. Classes would carry on normal activities with transitions being paused until an “all clear” is given. 

We have outlined the rest of the poster sections below to provide clarity on how staff and students would respond:

Evacuation – Issued when it is determined that an internal threat makes it safer outside the building than inside. 

Shelter-in-Place – Issued when a non-imminent threat is perceived in the surrounding area to the school. 

Lockdown – Issued when an imminent threat of violence could jeopardize the safety of

students and staff.