Parents’ Role During Emergencies
In a school emergency, the first instinct of many parents is to pick up the telephone and start calling their child or school and/or rush to the school and get your children. But the truth is, this only complicates matters from a safety and security standpoint. Parents too close to an incident often hinder rescue attempts of the police and fire officials on the scene. Calling your child’s cell phone may prevent them from hearing important, even life-saving information. Too many parents calling the school can also tie up needed phone lines and hinder efforts to communicate. Students will be able to use cell phones if they need immediate assistance and once they are safe.
The best action parents can take in an emergency is to monitor their phone, e-mail and district web site for regular updates and instructions.
Do not report to your child’s school during emergency situations. Law enforcement officials will not allow entry to the school site during a lockdown or shelter-in-place.
Avoid calling the school or the district during the emergency. This will allow complete focus of the school and responders to be on the emergency.
Notification and Communication: The school district is committed to providing parents and guardians with the latest and most accurate information available. In most cases the district will send brief phone messages or emails via its notification system in an emergency. Parents will be asked to also monitor more extensive official emergency updates at the district’s web site. Additional updates will also be sent depending upon the nature of the emergency.
In today’s world, it is likely that students will be texting and calling parents immediately. Be aware that information you receive from your child may not always be accurate; ensure the information you are using is official and comes directly from the Ankeny Community School District.
School Emergency Response Protocols – A school crisis can take a number of forms including an environmental event, such as a chemical spill or gas leak; a weather emergency, such as a tornado warning; or an intruder in or near the school. The nature of a school crisis dictates whether school officials will put in place a lockdown, shelter-in-place, evacuation, or any combination of two of these protocols, as a means to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.
When and Why are Students and Staff Asked to Lockdown, Shelter-in-Place or Evacuate?
Lockdown — A lockdown is normally in effect when there is a threat inside the school. Students and staff are removed from harms way by having them safely located inside secure classrooms or other areas inside the school to reduce the risk of being exposed to the source of potential harm. During lockdowns access to the building is prohibited.
Shelter-in-Place — Shelter-in-place is instituted when the threat is outside the school. Students and staff are secured inside a classroom or other areas inside the school reducing the risk for exposure to inclement weather or other potential harm such as a gas release.
Evacuation — Evacuations are typically conducted to remove students and staff from harms way by having them safely vacate the school and reassemble in a more secure location.
If the school building is evacuated, how will I be able to locate my child? Parents will be directed to a specific location where they will be required to show proper identification. At the reunification site, school administrators, police and fire officials account for students and provide aid to those who need it immediately. Students are released only to authorized individuals. If you are a non-custodial parent, you must be listed with your child’s emergency contact information as a guardian and show proper identification.