Ferndale School District is fully committed to the physical, social, and emotional safety of every student we serve. The district and each of its schools has a standard procedure for evacuation and lockdown–each designed to safeguard whoever is in the buildings and/or get them out of the buildings if evacuation is needed. Below please find information about some of the specific programs and strategies that we employ to prepare in advance, address, monitor results, and grow out capacity to create and maintain safe learning environments at all of our school sites.
Annual Large Scale Drills with Partner Agencies
The Ferndale School District has worked diligently over the last several years to develop strong meaningful relationships with nearby Government Agencies through the planning and carrying out of large scale multi agency drills. We have adopted a proactive and deliberate approach to Emergency Response and preparedness.
Regular Emergency Drills in all Buildings
In addition to the large scale drills all of our schools conduct regular drills to prepare for many different kinds of disruptive events. These are planned in advance, conducted and recorded, and later debriefed by the building staff to address any concerns and systematically refine each type of drill. Typically buildings have specific protocols for responding to these different types of events:
- Fire Drills used in case of a fire or other emergency when the building needs to be cleared quickly
- Earthquake Drills used to respond in the moment to an earthquake or other natural disaster that threatens the stability of buildings
- Lockdown Drills used to secure staff and students inside of buildings if an external threat or intruder is present
- Shelter in Place Drills used to respond to an outside environmental threat such as a gas leak or storm. Students and staff will typically assemble in a gym or other large space so that air flow can be restricted and food or water can be distributed
While each of these drills is intended to address a specific type of threat, there are many common practices that we use to ensure every student is safe and accounted for. Planning and conducting these drills is one responsibility of each Building Safety Team (which meets quarterly or more frequently if the need arises). For more information about drills planned for your child’s school, please contact the building principal.
Required Annual Staff Training
In addition to the above safety drills, we require every staff member in Ferndale School District to complete annual training that addresses specific student Health and Safety. Examples of the types of trainings that staff complete include: Harassment and Bullying, Asthma Awareness, Understanding Diabetes, and Right Response De-Escalation. During the 2016-2017 school year, this district began training staff on the Teacher Initiated Care System (TICS). Staff are trained in basic field trauma care, which can be used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until the victim can be given medical attention by first responders and/or hospital medical professionals.
Here are basic things we are doing to enhance safety at school:
Our staff is watchful for strangers or unusual activity on campus, so please be sure to check into the front office when you visit, and wear your visitor or volunteer badges.
When students are picked up to leave school during the day, we send them home only with adults you authorize. Please make sure the emergency information about your student is up to date.
Following are safety precautions the Red Cross and local emergency agencies suggest families can take:
- Make and practice family and neighborhood emergency plans.
- Network with neighbors and family to designate meeting locations and communications channels.
- Remember that you may need to show an ID to re-connect with your child following a school emergency. Support staff for emergencies may come from other schools or emergency agencies. Those people may not recognize you as the authorized adult for your child. Their request to see your ID will be in the interest of safety.
- Avoid driving to a school during an emergency to keep roads open for emergency vehicles. Tune in to local media stations or websites for information before adding another vehicle to the road.
- Pack an emergency kit. A list of items families can use to build an emergency supply kit is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Always check in at the front office when you visit school.
- •Visit Preparedness in America’s Schools here.
What to do in an Emergency
Before an emergency happens, make sure your emergency contact info is up to date. Check it out today online through Skyward Family Access, or call your school to make sure it is correct. If you move, change the school information.
Record current medical information about your student at school.
When you visit a school, sign in and sign out at the front desk. During emergencies, everyone must be accounted for. If you visit and fail to sign out, someone must re-enter the building following an emergency evacuation or practice evacuation and look for you. Visitors or itinerant staff who fail to sign out when leaving a school have caused an entire student body to stand outside in the rain while the whereabouts of the errant visitor is verified. Similarly, you do not want to be an unknown visitor in a school if it goes into a lockdown. If you’ve not signed in at the front desk, you automatically become an intruder on site during an emergency lockdown, diverting police or staff attention away from determining the real cause of the lockdown.
- Direct students NOT to call you and don’t call student cell phones. Here’s why:
- Students will not know emergency details. They will know only that they’ve been directed to respond to an emergency and to do so in a specific way; they won’t have a full perspective and can’t give you an accurate picture of what is going on.
- In emergencies, it is vital students follow orders and the prescribed emergency procedures. Parents calling with different instructions for their kids pit parental authority against school authority when safety can best be ensured when everyone follows school directions and responds as drills have been practiced.
- The noise of cell phones and phone conversations could put students in danger. A school intruder may well be searching for people and be attracted to the sounds of cell phones or talking. During lockdowns, students and staff are to be absolutely silent.
- Some radio and cell phone frequencies can trigger explosive devices.
- As soon as possible, the district will use media, web, phones, or other methods to inform the public as much as possible of what is going on. Students who call news media during emergencies create misinformation from an uninformed perspective which creates confusion and takes more valuable time to correct.
- Stay away from the school! Rushing to where your child might be clogs the roads, inhibits emergency response. The injured child in the ambulance that cannot get to the hospital just might be yours.
- Be patient with school parent/student reunification procedure. Each student must be released to an authorized adult following an emergency. A rush of worried parents requires more time of staff assigned to reunite parents and students. Understand that, situation depending, parents may not be allowed on-campus access to students.
- Remember, children demonstrate incredible strength and resilience that can collapse when they see a distraught parent.
Have a plan! Every family should have an emergency plan outlining where to meet, who to call, how to connect with someone out of state.
Have a neighborhood plan! Great way to get to know your neighbors.