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Terms and Procedures Used in a School Emergency

The Ames Community School District is committed to the safety of our students, staff, and visitors. We have a plan in place for safety, security, and responding to emergencies and disasters. We post our plan in every building and classroom. In the event of a school emergency situation, the District and school staff may use the following terms to ensure a common language. These terms are also used by local law enforcement.

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Evacuation

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

Procedures:

  • Grab flipbook with class roster.
  • Lead evacuation without delay.
  • Take attendance as soon as arrival at location.

Shelter-In-Place

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

Procedures:

  • Clear hallway of students.
  • Carry on normal activities within the classroom.
  • Stay in place until situation is deemed safe and “all clear” is given.
  • Restrict access to the building. 

Hold-In-Place

Issued when a non-imminent threat is occurring within the building. This may be issued when there is a need to isolate movement in a specific wing of the building. 

Procedures:

  • Carry on normal activities within the classroom.
  • Pause transition until given the “all clear.”

Lockdown

Issued when an imminent threat of violence could jeopardize the safety of students and staff. 

Procedures:

  • Students should report to the nearest classroom.
  • Close, cover, and lock all doors.
  • Shut off lights and be quiet.
  • Move all occupants away from doors and windows.
  • Ignore all bells/alarms unless otherwise instructed.
  • May lead to an evacuation.

In the case of a fire, evacuate immediately. For tornado, proceed to the designated shelter. Active threats initiate ALICE protocols. 

We coordinate our response to a crisis with local public safety agencies, such as the Ames Police and Fire Departments, the Story County Sheriff and Emergency Management Agency, and area hospitals.

We make it a priority to communicate with parents/guardians as soon as practical when there is a safety concern at a school. This will occur once measures have been taken to respond to the emergency to help ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors, and when accurate information is confirmed. We realize that students often text or call parents when the school implements a safety protocol. Please know that we do our best to communicate specifics with students in a timely manner. However, students may not have all of the information and may unknowingly share incomplete or inaccurate information.

The Director of Communications manages the information given to the community and to media to ensure it is accurate, consistent, and serves to enhance the response to the situation. We provide information to parents and guardians about the situation, dismissal procedures, and procedures for reuniting families with students. The methods we use to get in touch with parents and guardians may vary, depending on the nature of the situation.

  • We will use Blackboard to send text and/or email messages to subscribed parents and guardians. Please make sure your contact information is accurate in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Update your phone number and email address if there are changes and ensure you do not block the school district’s emails or calls.
  • If appropriate to the situation, we will post alerts on the District website and distribute them to the media.

During a school emergency, we ask that parents do not come to or call the school, or approve your child to leave school grounds. It is important to keep the streets and parking area near the school, and phone lines open for emergency responders and communication. We need to be able to effectively account for all students and staff following an incident. 

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