Our school has an Emergency Preparedness Plan which we continually review to help ensure the safety and well-being of your child and our staff in the event of an emergency. This plan includes procedures relating to earthquake, fire, hazardous materials accidents/spills, threats to the school, violent incidents, severe weather, landslides, and travel to/from school. I have attached a chart explaining our responses to critical incidents below for your reference.
Being prepared to respond to an emergency includes having the right equipment at school and conducting emergency drills. Drills at school include fire drills, earthquake drills, wildlife drills, hold and secure and lockdown drills. We schedule our drills throughout the school year and prepare our students in advance to help ensure a calm, understanding emergency response.
We have hold 6 fire drills and 3 earthquake drills and 3 intruder/lockdown drills each school year. We area always impressed with the respectful nature of the students, the commitment to maintaining a quiet and calm evacuation of the building and a knowledge of what to do and where to go is prevalent with all the students.
Note on intruder/lockdown drills.
These drills are a little different in nature, as they are preparing for the unlikely event that there is a threat inside our building (a place where our staff and students feel very safe). Teachers prepare students in class ahead of the drills, talking about the dill in an age appropriate manner. Our job is to give them the information and understanding that these drills are meant to be a structure to help protect them and keep them safe. Sometimes this is just a potential threat or something that could be unsafe or that we don’t want children don’t see. The threat may be nothing, but until we (the adults) can determine that it is safe, we use the lockdown drill as a measure to keep them safe.
If your child is asking questions around what kind of unsafe stuff? It is best to be as honest with them as much as possible, without striking fear. All kids know that people make poor choices at times. When discussing what threats lockdown drills are addressing, explain to them that it’s the school’s job to keep the children safe from any adults around that might be making poor choices.
This website has some great info on how to talk with your child about lockdown drills.
- If a child comes home from school talking about the lockdown drills there are a few things parents can do to help them understand why they are practicing these drills.
- Be aware of the age/stage of your child. Students in Kindergarten will need different explanations of lockdown drills than a Grade 6 student. Parents need to use age appropriate language and keep it simple for younger children.
- Reassure your child that these drills are intended to keep them safe and are “just in case” of an emergency.
- Remind them that their teachers know what to do in case of a lockdown drill and will keep them safe.
- The more information a child has the less anxiety they feel. The more they practice a lockdown drill the more familiar it becomes and when children feel confident they know what to do in an emergency making it less frightening.
- If your child is prone to anxiety and/or worrying, inform their teacher. This will allow the teacher to watch for signals in your child that they are anxious. The teacher can help your child through the drill.
- Help your child have a plan to ease anxiety. For instance, some children take deep breaths, others will imagine themselves doing something they enjoy and some children will hum a familiar song.
Is there anything parents can do themselves to help children with anxiety?
- Communication is key to easing anxiety in children. Parents need to have open communication with their children and school staff.
- Parents need to listen to their child’s fears or worries. What may seem like a small issue to us, as adults can be a big concern for children.
- If there is more than one child in the family remember each child is an individual with different concerns than their siblings. They may not all deal with anxiety in the same manner.
- Children will feed on adult anxiety. If a parent is nervous, worried or upset than a child will sometimes act the same way.
You are encouraged to discuss this information with your children. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
We are honoured to be learning on the Traditional Territory of the Sḵwxwú7meshÚxwumixw and St’át’yemc Nations
Critical Incidences Guidelines and Protocol for Myrtle Philip Community School