Emergency Preparedness-The Series-Part II-The Low Down on Lock Downs

Emergency Preparedness-The Series-Part II
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The Low Down on Lock Downs


In the aftermath of well publicized school shootings, it only makes sense to address the possibility of any threat on school grounds whether it be trespassing, or an armed suspect.There is no longer room the “simple threat” attitude, the cost of the potential problem is just too great.

Although most schools will never experience a threat as horrific as a school shooting, there is no down side to expecting the best and being prepared for the worst.

To that end, here are how Arizona schools are prepping to handle the worst case scenario of a potential school shooting on their grounds. This information has been gleaned from the AZ Department of Education and the AZ Republic website. Also, be sure to visit the Mindset Self-Defense You Tube account at: XXX for video’s on school preparedness, sourced from the Department of Homeland Security. Click on our School Safety
playlist.

Valley schools typically announce lockdowns whenever a potential threat is identified and the situations run the gamut and are not distance sensitive. For example; a bomb threat, a suspicious person who appears to have a weapon or suspect on the run, even if several blocks away. What prompts a lockdown is anything that presents a danger to children — not just criminal. When a lockdown is announced, teachers sweep the area, bring in adults and students to the nearest classroom, lock the doors,remain quiet and turn off the lights. If the school has a resource officer, they are notified and police agencies might send officers to schools to guard the perimeters.

Five Chandler schools were placed on lockdown for about four hours this year when a man was spotted reportedly carrying either a rifle or shotgun near Chandler High School. A Tempe middle school went into lockdown last school year after two students reported another student showed them a handgun in a backpack. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun. A Mesa high school in 2013 was placed on lockdown when a student called in a bomb threat.

Usually, it is the police’s call to lock down a school, but district administrators work with police agencies to learn how and when to implement lockdowns.

Similar to other districts, Mesa schools conduct at least one lockdown drill a semester, Mesa schools
spokeswoman Helen Hollands said.

Lockdowns are stress producing for parents. Most parents find out about them through either district administration communications, posts on district websites, email alerts or at times letters home if a situation warrants it. Often times the children themselves contact parents through social media, which at times are the quickest way parents received information. It is important for parents to know that the information they received via their children may be prompted by a false alarm and not to panic until the
information has been verified.

Here are some common questions that many parents would like answers to:

How are school lockdowns handled?
The specifics of each plan differ, as do the responses, based on the specifics of a situation. In general, each plan involves the designation of an emergency-response team; development of evacuation, shelter-in-place and lockdown procedures; preparation of a portable emergency response kit that contains key information and supplies; designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites; provisions for training personnel and updating the plan; checklists for dealing with specific types of incidents; and resources for help before, during and after an incident.

Read more on Pgs.22-23

Kris Costa
Editor in Chief

KBCHeadShotEd

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