Please read the following letters to answer your questions about our Emergency Preparedness situation
how you can help your child be prepared for an emergency at school.
A few years ago, students and staff at Blakely School were gathered outside as part of our response to an earthquake. Our response plan work well in that everyone was safe and our building was undamaged. Staff member met their responsibilities to take care of the students in a calm and reassuring manner.
As a school, we learned a great deal about what aspects of our emergency preparedness plan worked well and we also identified some areas that need further attention. It was clearly evident that our practice drills paid off, as students and staff responded positively and appropriately. This reality experience helped to remind all of us as to the importance of having emergency action plans clearly in place at home and at home.
If you have not done so, this is the time to get your child's emergency kit to school, and make sure we have your list of designated adults to whom your child can be released in an emergency.
This is the time to discuss what would happen at home during an emergency and reassure your children that there is a plan to make them safe and that adults are prepared. Take steps to make your home more earthquake safe and involve the your children in the plan. Making the home safe helps everyone feel safer and puts the earthquake in perspective.
The Blakely Plan:
Briefly, this is how Blakely is prepared to respond:
1. We have staff assigned to eight response teams:
a. Emergency Operation Center: Incident Command
b. First Aid
c. Damage Assessment
d. Search and Rescue
e. Fire and Utilities
f. Student/Parent Reunion
g. Student Supervision
h. Support and Security
2. During an earthquake, the first response is to duck, cover and hold. We do an immediate visual check of the building to make the determination as to how and when to evacuate the building. The Fire and Utilities Team checks electrical, gas and water systems.
3. We gather on the blacktop area on the upper playground and take attendance and determine if everyone is accounted for and whether we have any missing persons or injuries. Damage assessment is conducted as soon as possible. Search and Rescue and First Aid Teams are dispatched as needed.
4. We have emergency radios for on-site communication and to the district office.
5. A decision is made as to short and long-term issues. If possible, we will re-enter the building - Blakely School was seismically upgraded during our remodel 1992. If we need to remain outside for an extended period of time, we have tents and emergency blankets on hand. Your child's Survival Kit will be used to provide snacks and we do have water and some food available as well.
6. We initiate the Student/Parent Reunion Team. This is one of the most challenging tasks. During the earthquake a few years ago, we had parents on-site before we could commence the evacuation of the building. We understand the concern and anxiety that will be present. We will do everything possible to make sure parents know the status of their child, but we must ensure that no one takes their child without signing out. We must know the location of every child at all times. In no case will we allow a parent/adult take any child, other that their own, unless the adult's name is listed on the Student Emergency Release Permission form. This is non-negotiable. Photo ID is preferred.
We ask for your cooperation in working with the staff at the Reunion Center in the south parking lot. It will be stressful to be sure, but a calm and cooperative response will make it work successfully for all. Once you have determined the status of your child, you can best help by staying with your child and helping the classroom teachers, as they will likely have additional tasks. (Also, please avoid parking in the bus drive as would block emergency vehicles should they need to get to the school).
There is much more that could be covered, however, I hope this gives you some comfort that we are taking steps to respond appropriately to ensure the welfare of everyone at Blakely School. I do not want to overstate our readiness, but as stated earlier, we have basic procedures in place and we will continue to prepare and plan. Please know that your PTO has helped to provide the bulk of our emergency supplies.
Please let me know if you have questions. Email is great. firstname.lastname@example.org