Crisis Response


A school fire alarm (Katheryn Ellis)

On Wednesday, August 30, teachers gathered in the library for a meeting about what to do in various emergency situations. This meeting included discussion about what to do during a lockdown, fire emergency, and shelter in place.

There was a hard lockdown drill the following Thursday. Teachers were instructed to lock the doors, cover the windows, and turn off the lights. Students followed the procedure that their teachers taught them and waited in silence in their classrooms for about ten minutes until it was announced over the intercom that the drill had concluded.

As a student, here’s what your crisis plan should look like. You need to be quiet and listen to what instructions your teacher gives you. That could be the difference between coming out of an emergency unharmed and coming out with a serious injury. Don’t go on your phone as it is a bright beacon telling anybody outside the classroom that there are people inside.

In the case of a fire emergency, stay with your class (or another class if you are lost) and keep calm. While your teacher calls for attendance to make sure everyone is together, keep quiet so that everyone can be accounted for.

For earthquake emergencies, like any other crisis, listen to your teachers and keep a careful ear for instructions over the intercom and to see if the crisis has evolved into something else (like a hard or soft lockdown). Keep under your desks or tables (depending on where you are during this time). When the drill clears, come out from under wherever you are hiding, and go back to your seat.

Lockdowns are usually caused by someone dangerous being near campus (soft lockdown) or a dangerous person actually being on campus (hard lockdown). In the event of a soft lockdown, doors must be locked. You usually can complete your work and whisper. In the event of a hard lockdown, the doors must be locked, the lights must be turned off, and everyone in the classroom must move to a specific location directed by the teacher and lie flat on the ground to stay out of sight. Hard lockdowns usually devolve into soft lockdowns before concluding.

Shelter in places are usually due to a chemical or nature-related emergency that restricts students from being outside. Classes are allowed to keep going during this emergency.

Always keep quiet and listen to your teacher, even if you think the emergency is actually a drill. If the emergency does turn out to be real, and you weren’t listening to your teacher and got lost, that’s on you. Remember to stay safe and be aware of your situation to successfully complete a crisis response.