Emergency Preparedness/Safety

What should I know about emergency preparedness and my student?

Emergency preparedness starts at home. Washington State has the potential for several large-scale emergency events. Often, parents work in areas where the risk is different than the ones your students face at their school. Regional emergencies like a tsunami, earthquake, storm, flood and fire can create tremendous loads on telephone and emergency providers and phone systems may not work. Cellular phone calls may be overloaded and unavailable. Text and messaging services use different lines and may be more readily available.Here are some steps you should take and have in place:

  • Families should create emergency communication plans. These often work best if someone outside of the area is used as the contact point.

  • Families should ensure that emergency contacts are up-to-date in Skyward Family Access so those individuals have authorization to pick up students when parents are unable to get to the school.

The Edmonds School District strives to be prepared for a variety of emergencies through emergency drilling and exercises as well as storing emergency supplies and equipment. Schools have back up battery or generator systems to keep essential power supplies on long enough to communicate about the emergency and to activate its response procedures.

What should I do if there is an emergency at my student's school?

It is important to remember that our schools have close working relationships with local police, fire and emergency responders. Emergency vehicles may be seen at our schools throughout the day for inspections, drills and other interactive relationships. The mere presence of emergency vehicles does not constitute an emergency.

In the event of a real emergency, the District will utilize the communication system known as SchoolMessenger. This system can communicate with as many as 10,000 emails, texts or phone calls per minute. Please ensure that your email and phone contact information is up to date in Skyward Family Access so you receive important, time-sensitive announcements.

These text and email announcements will provide as much information as we can about the nature of the emergency, what you should do and how the emergency does or does not impact your student. Please follow the instructions provided in these emergency notifications. Following an emergency, we will provide additional communication and support. 

Text messaging is currently an opt-in program. If you'd like to receive text message notifications, please read through the District Text Messaging information for how to opt-in.

What is a lockdown and what should I do if I am notified my student's school is in lockdown?

A lockdown is a method of securing the school campus when there is an unidentified intruder, emergency or event in the immediate area where the school campus may be at risk. Most lockdowns occur as a result of police or emergency activity in neighborhoods around the school and are used to ensure that the activity cannot cross into the school campus.

If you are notified that a school is in lockdown please do not go to the school. The doors will be secured and cannot be opened until the area has been declared safe, and visitors may interfere with emergency response and how quickly the campus can be restored to normal operations. Instructions for parents will be provided through the District's emergency notification system. If your child needs to be picked up from school, this system, public media and news outlets will provide the details and locations for reunification.

What is A.L.I.C.E.?

During the 2015-16 school year we will be enhancing our current lockdown procedures, specifically in response to the possibility of a violent intruder situation. The Edmonds School District has adopted the ALICE Institute program, whose foundation is the Federal "Run, Hide, Fight" model.

A.L.I.C.E. stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. The basis of this new response plan is to provide staff and students more options. The five steps of A.L.I.C.E. are not linear. They can be used by staff and students in any order, as the situation develops. The number one goal of A.L.I.C.E. is to keep students and staff safe and away from harm.

We will not be training elementary-aged students to counter. The key emphasis is on listening to their teacher and following instructions in an emergency.

Through this change, we are empowering our staff and students with more safety options by ensuring that they are educated and prepared. Past tragedies have demonstrated that simply having students lockdown and attempt to hide is not always the most appropriate response.

What if a violent intruder event occurs?

If an A.L.I.C.E. incident happens, your students are being informed to utilize social media such as text, Facebook or messaging services to communicate with you about their status. Please do not engage them in lengthy conversations as this may hinder their safety. We will ask them to keep you informed as we also communicate with you through our emergency notification system. During an intruder event, some students may evacuate campus and make arrangements with you to pick them up outside of the campus. Do not pick up students at the school campus unless directed to do so by the school district. Outside visitors to the campus during an intruder event can place everyone at risk. Reunification sites will be announced and students who evacuate individually have been notified to stay off campus until properly notified.

If a reunification site has been established what should I do?

Reunification sites are utilized anytime a school has to be evacuated and it is determined that it is not safe to return to the school. Students will be bussed or transported to the reunification site. Parents should only respond to the reunification site, do not try to pick up your child at the school campus. Depending on the reason for the evacuation, emergency personnel may be seen at the site. For your security and safety, the reunification process is very regulated. Students will only be released to parents and guardians authorized in Skyward Family Access to pick up their child. Please ensure that you have ID during an emergency and have updated your Skyward Family Access information with proper contact information for you and any friend(s) or family member(s) that may be responsible for picking up your student. Do not send relatives or friends to pick up your student unless they are listed as an emergency contact.

Please be patient, the reunification process could take several hours. However, be assured that reuniting your family is of the utmost importance to Edmonds School District staff and we will work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What does the District do to prepare my child for an emergency?

The Edmonds School District is regulated by state law to conduct a number of emergency drills. Drills occur at least once a month and include shelter in place, lockdown and evacuation. Schools also have personnel trained in first aid, AED, search and rescue, counseling and psychology in the event of an actual emergency.
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