Important Information about Readiness Drills and Building Safety
Each year, schools like Bradford Heights engage in building-wide drills as a means of preparing for any number of different emergency situations that might occur. From monthly required fire drills, to weather emergencies, to the old days of fallout drills, readiness has always been on the minds of educators. The one aspect that seems to be ever evolving, however, is the advice from experts on exactly what we should do as a school community in any of these situations.
More recently, the nation’s focus has been fixed on the tragedies that have taken place across educational settings. Elementary, Secondary, and even Post-Secondary campuses and their surrounding communities have been impacted, all within the last calendar year. In every situation, the common refrain from local leaders is that they, “never expected anything like this to happen here.”
For that reason, it remains our responsibility to be prepared. “Lockdown” or “Intruder” drills are not new to Downingtown schools – we’ve been practicing them for years. As we continue to learn from some of the events that have occurred in other parts of the country, our plans also need to evolve. This year, when we practice intruder situations, we’ll be employing strategies gleaned from A.L.I.C.E, a training organization that supports schools, businesses and government agencies through preparedness training. A.L.I.C.E. stands for:
Alert – Use plain language, no code words – let people know what’s happening
Lockdown – If evacuation is not an option, barricade all entry points
Inform – Communicate in real time any information possible with outside support
Counter – As a last resort, distract intruders by making noise or throwing objects and escape
Evacuate – Run from danger when the path is clear and safe; use any exit possible
During our drills this year, we will employ some of these strategies – specifically lockdowns with barricading, as well as evacuation – whenever possible. When talking about intruders with our students, we’ll simply refer to them as “bad guys” who may be trying to “hurt people.”
At home, parents can reinforce that our goal is to make sure everyone in the building continues to be safe and secure, but that if anything should happen, our priority is to get everyone away from danger as quickly as possible. Please feel free to contact the office should you have any questions or concerns.