Practice Emergency Drill Information
Student safety is always on our minds here at school. One of the ways we provide support for students and our staff is through emergency protocol drills. We are sure you all remember fire and earthquake drills from your days as a student, and we still prepare for these unlikely but possible events. The Jordan District website outlines each of the types of drills we practice. Here are additional details about how these emergency procedures work at Golden Fields.
Our state regulations require us to practice evacuation drills within the first 10 days of school at the beginning of the year and again when we return from winter break. During a fire drill, everyone in the building leaves in an orderly fashion and classes gather in designated places outside. School personnel check every room before declaring the building safe. Fire drills usually only last a few minutes and are minimally disruptive to the school day.
Other Evacuation Drills
There are potentially other reasons for needing to evacuate a building, such as a gas leak inside the school. Fire drill procedures would be followed in this situation. If students need to be out of the building for an extended period of time, a secondary location within walking distance is part of our safety plan.
Lockdown and Lockout Drills
It’s easy to confuse these two drills, but they serve very different purposes. In a lockdown situation, something dangerous is inside the school. The most serious cause for a lockdown is an armed intruder. In this situation, we are trained to prevent entry as much as possible by locking any doors between students and a threatening situation. (We also follow protocols of keeping our doors locked all day, every day.) In a lockdown drill, usually practiced once a year, we lock all inside doors and gather students away from entry points of doors and windows. We instruct them to be as quiet as possible to avoid encounters with the dangerous person. In an actual situation, depending on proximity, we are trained to find escape routes rather than waiting in a locked room, if possible. South Jordan police work closely with our school district to update training and protocols based on analysis of real events, and they continually work to keep our students safe in any situation.
A lockout situation is much less threatening inside our building. Lockouts occur when something is happening outside of the building that we want to keep outside. Often these events have nothing to do with our school. There may be an unwanted animal outside (there have been cougar events in parts of the district), or a disruption in the neighborhood. Sometimes an incidence of domestic violence in the community prompts a lockout. We are advised of these situations by the South Jordan police, and often we begin a lockout without much information. Our partnership with the police is meant to provide enough precautions to make sure our school community is safe. As soon as the threat is gone, usually under advisement from the police, we lift the lockout. During a lockout drill, we lock our outside doors and prohibit anyone from entering or leaving the school. Students continue working as usual inside the building. A lockout drill only lasts a short amount of time and we practice this on an annual basis. An actual lockout protocol will last as long as necessary until confirmation is received that the external safety concern has been resolved.
Shelter in Place Drill
At school we also practice shelter in place drills annually. To students, these are the same as lockout drills. The outside doors are locked and learning continues as usual inside the school. Functionally, in a shelter in place drill, we also close the vents to outside air, to practice what we would need to do if there was a gas leak in the neighborhood or another reason why outside air would not be safe to breathe. If we need to shelter in place inside the building for an extended period of time, perhaps because of severe thunderstorms or blizzard conditions outside, then students will be cared for safely inside the building.
We usually time our annual earthquake drill during the Utah Great Shakeout Drill in April. Students are advised to move under a table or their desks, cover their heads, and wait for a few seconds until the drill stops. In an actual earthquake, students would shelter under cover and then respond to school directions based on the severity of the earthquake. A major event may require moving to a secondary location and implementing a reunification protocol for families to be reunited with their students. As a school, we have the tools needed to carry out this protocol. In a minor earthquake, learning may continue as usual. In any case, we follow directions given by local authorities.
Communication with Parents
It is our goal to communicate with our students’ families so there is no unnecessary worry. Jordan District advises us on communication protocols, and we try to inform parents about actual events through texts, phone calls and emails, though sometimes we instigate a protocol at the advice of South Jordan police or Jordan School District with very little information. Actual events may last only a few minutes or several hours, and as the event proceeds, we will communicate more information as we receive it. Drills are typically 15 minutes or less, and they usually inconvenience students or families in a minor way. They are not always advertised to the community.