Crises are an inevitable part of life. The Board of Education believes when crisis occurs, all stakeholders of the school community may be affected - students, staff members, parents, and the community.
Kirby School District 140 realizes the importance of planning for a crisis from a preparedness standpoint so that our students, staff, visitors, and members of our community feel safe and secure in an emergency situation.
Our school district administration is concerned about the emotional welfare of its people during and after crisis situations. Regardless of the nature or timing of a crisis, the district response and strategies follow general policies and guidelines. Our school district's commitment to crisis preparedness is in line with local emergency services and disaster agency safety and security protocols, as well as Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Federal Homeland Security guidelines. Given a crisis situation, any and all necessary actions should be initiated to insure that safety and security needs are dealt with in a professional, compassionate and respectful manner.
The Superintendent shall facilitate organization of a knowledgeable and supportive team of individuals to prepare administrative procedures and a crisis management plan of action.
The school community must respond to three major kinds of emergencies:
- Natural Disasters: severe weather, tornado, extreme cold or hot weather, ozone alerts, floods,earthquake
- Technological Disasters: fires, utility emergencies, hazardous materials incident
- Civil Disturbances: bomb threat, demonstration and riots, terrorism
The following are examples of severe weather conditions that require school administrators to initiate actions according to established school district policy and procedure:
- Severe Thunderstorms / Tornado
- Extreme Cold
- Heat Alerts
- Ozone Alerts
Identify the severe weather situation and follow school policy and procedure to protect students and staff accordingly.
Severe Thunderstorms and Tornado Watch or Warning:
Inform all school personnel about the procedures at the beginning of the school year and review them periodically throughout the year. It is important that everyone knows and understands what position to take when a thunderstorm, tornado watch or warning threatens.
- Be a very small target. Squat low to the ground and place your head between your knees and hands over your head in the predesignated shelter area.
- Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.
- Determine shelter locations and post them in each room with routes drawn to direct the public towards those shelters.
- If outside, go inside immediately. If this is not possible, go to a low-lying, open place (not subject to flash flooding) away from trees, utility poles, fences and metal objects.
- Know which radio and television stations broadcast weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service for your area. Assign personnel to monitor during threatening weather.
- Establish a warning signal to inform all school personnel to the alert of a severe weather watch and severe weather warning.
- Establish procedures for bus drivers to follow if they are caught in a severe thunderstorm while transporting students. Ensure that all transportation personnel are advised of these procedures.
- Develop a telephone tree or another means for notifying parents should it be necessary to alter the schedule for dismissal. Be in contact with central office administration for communication and directives.
- If a severe weather emergency is occurring at dismissal time, keep the students at school until the storm has passed. Do not use the telephone to notify parents of the change in schedule until the storm has passed.
- Instruct custodial or maintenance personnel how and when it is appropriate to turn off utilities.
- If severe weather causes damage to the school environment, administrator and custodial staff should survey the damage and permit dismissal accordingly to insure safety for students, staff and parents at all times.
Extreme Cold Weather:
Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life threatening. The best protection against severe winter weather is to stay indoors and to dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing.
- Develop winter storm and extreme cold weather procedures and inform all schoolpersonnel about them prior to the winter season.
- Establish guidelines with regards to wind chill, temperature changes and outside activities. For all schools outdoor recess will be held if the air temperature or wind chill is above 25° F. If the air temperature or wind chill is between 20° and 25° F recess will be shortened. Below 20° F. recess will be held indoors.
- Inform lunch aides about extreme weather condition school policy and procedure and give instructions daily with regards to activities outdoors when warrants.
- Establish policy and procedure for canceling extracurricular activities when weather conditions could be threatening to students, staff and visitors.
- Know which radio and television stations broadcast weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service for your area. Assign personnel to monitor them during threatening weather.
- Develop a telephone tree or other means of notifying parents when necessary to alter schedule of dismissal (either early or late) due to impending weather conditions.
- Administration should assure that all school buses are winterized, in good mechanical order and properly equipped with communication device for two-way communication with school district administration.
- Replenish supplies of rock salt to melt ice on walkways and maintain snow removal equipment for proper use.
Severe Heat Alert:
While most schools are not in session during the hottest parts of the summer, heat waves are common in May, August and September. Monitor the Heat Index readings issued by the National Weather Service. School officials should be vigilant to the temperature, ozone alerts and set guidelines appropriately.
- Instruct personnel and students on the symptoms of heat illness and the proper treatment.
- Curtail physical activities and watch for heat related symptoms such as fatigue and lethargy.
- Relax drinking policies in the classroom and encourage more frequent water breaks.
- If possible, run fans or the air conditioning.
- Monitor the current emergency weather information and if necessary, implement early dismissal procedures.
Ozone is one of the chief sources of air pollution during late spring, summer and early fall. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) warns the population in times of dangerous ozone concentrations. Ozone in large concentrations is a health hazard, especially to those suffering from chronic respiratory and heart illnesses.
- School officials will monitor for an ozone advisory according to IEPA standards and implement guidelines appropriately for outdoor activities.
Floods can occur at different times of the year and over varying geographical areas. School officials should monitor for flash floods according to the National Weather Service and set guidelines appropriately.
- Building administrators and custodial / maintenance staff should be aware of surrounding small streams, retention ponds and low-lying areas. Survey the school grounds after abnormally heavy rainfall and monitor student access to pools of gathered water. Be vigilant for the potential for flooding at these sites.
- Limit student access to retention drains and evidence of apparent flooding.
- Provide adequate adult supervision during school start and dismissal times. Post supervision in key areas on school grounds when temporary flooding occurs.
- Establish procedures for bus drivers to follow if they encounter flooding that could endanger students or themselves. Advise bus drivers not to drive through floodwater. The depth of the water is not always obvious.
- Ensure that all buses are equipped with communication equipment.
An earthquake is a sudden rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth's surface. This shaking can cause buildings and bridges to collapse and can disrupt utility services. Most earthquake related casualties are the result of collapsing walls, flying glass, falling objects and debris from structures and furniture. Earthquakes can occur at any time of the year. They pose a risk in parts of Illinois because of the state's proximity to the New Madrid Fault.
- Maintenance and custodial staff should survey the building for structural safety. Insure that staff can shut off utilities in a rapid response.
- Staff will be informed that in the event of an earthquake, areas that are considered as safe within the school should be identified. Safe areas include under desks, sturdy tables or workbenches. People should hold on to or crouch down and sit against an interior wall as well as cover their heads with their arms. People who are outside during an earthquake should move away from buildings and utility wires and either lie or sit down.
- Staff will be informed that in the event of an earthquake, areas that are considered as unsafe within the school are identified as near windows, bookcases or furniture that is not bolted securely and could potentially fall over.
- Conduct a disaster drill periodically throughout the school year. Review proper evacuation procedures. Use flashlights for illumination and do not use matches, candles or flames indoors because of possible gas leaks.
- If evacuation is necessary, insure that the building is structurally safe before anyone is permitted to enter the building and that all utilities are operating efficiently.
The following are examples of technological disasters that require school administrators to initiate actions according to established school district policy and procedure:
- Utility Emergency
- Hazardous Materials Incident
- Schools are required to establish and maintain a fire-drill program.
- Building administrators will conduct fire drills in accordance with the School Code and the fire marshal. Fire drills should be practiced at the beginning of the school year and periodically throughout the year. Included in the fire drill program is routine and timely maintenance of all fire alarm equipment, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, extinguishers and exit lights. Maps of the school environment will be labeled accordingly with fire exits and alternate exits. Teachers will discuss exit procedures with their students and establish a location outside the building where the class will meet under emergency conditions.
- All schools will maintain a list of emergency phone numbers for local fire, police, ambulance services, hospitals and health care service providers.
- Activate the fire alarm by pulling the alarm box nearest to your location and call 911.
- During a fire drill or in the event of a real fire, teachers will check for and maintain student attendance.
- Upon the arrival of the fire department, building administrator / custodian will present map of school, identify location of fire, identify occupancy of building and identify utility location.
- Building administrator will contact Superintendent, complete incident report and handle communication with the media.
- Building administrator will allow entry into the building only after thorough inspection and authorization.
- A utility emergency will impact energy distribution. Ice and windstorms can pull down electrical power and telephone lines. Natural disasters can disrupt electrical transmission and communication lines.
- Administration will identify what utility services are disrupted, how this disruption will affect school and determine if the safety and security of staff and students is threatened.
- Administration will determine if school needs to be canceled and handle dismissal and notification of parents accordingly.
Hazardous Materials Incident:
- Local officials and school district administration will be in communication with each other with regards to proper safety and security protocol in the event of a hazardous materials incident at or near the school. Police or fire personnel will identify the best plan for safety and security of all students, staff and school community.
- Building administrators will authorize either "shelter in place" procedures or evacuation as necessary. School district administration will remain informed of incident and conditions and will implement procedures to notify parents accordingly.
The following are examples of civil disturbances that require school administrators to initiate actions according to established school district policy and procedure:
- Building Security
- Bomb Threat
- Demonstrations and Riots
Civil disturbances will disrupt the school setting. Examples of civil disturbances include bomb threats, demonstrations, riots and terrorism. The concept of terrorism preparedness in the school setting includes protection from the threat of both biological and chemical attacks as well as protection from intruders in the building. In addition to basic security and crisis preparedness guidelines noted, school officials must also take into account current national threat trends regarding biological and chemical terrorism.
- Kirby School District 140 maintains building security measures. All outside doors are kept locked. Visitors must ring the doorbell, announce their request or reason to enter the building, and then are granted access to enter the schools. Visitors and volunteers must sign in at the front desk. The office staff will request a copy of the driver's license for all volunteers working with our students. Volunteers are asked to complete a Volunteer/Non-Employee Acknowledgement of Non-Criminal Background form.
- In the event that an emergency situation necessitates staff to secure and isolate the school, a lockdown procedure will commence. A lockdown can be initiated by school personnel or by law enforcement. Local authorities and school administration will determine when a lockdown is cancelled and normal protocol can resume in the school.
- School personnel should make every effort to gather as much information as possible when a bomb threat is received and communicate this information to the proper authorities.
- School administration will confer with local police in the event of a bomb threat and will implement safety and security policy as determined. If evacuation occurs, administration will allow reentry to the building only after authorization is received from police.
Demonstration and Riots:
School administration will alert police to the presence of a demonstration or riot on or close to school property. Administration will assess the situation and attempt to determine its seriousness. Administration will authorize policy to promote the safety and security of all students, staff and school community in concert with local police in the event of a disturbance.
- The district will plan and implement heightened school security procedures during elevated levels of homeland security according to federal policy.
- Maintain a proactive effort of visitor access and control. This includes designating locked security doors and entrance only through front security door for all visitors when school is in session. Maintain sign-in procedure for all school visitors, provide temporary district badges for substitute staff and enforce documentation for student attendance and dismissal at the front desk.
- Encourage school personnel to maintain a heightened awareness for suspicious activity and to report the same. This may include suspicious vehicles on and around campus, suspicious persons in and around school buildings including those taking photographs or videotaping.
- Report the presence of suspicious packages both in the building and around the building perimeter to administration.
- Establish policy that insures that classroom windows are secured at the end of the school day.
- Establish routine inspections of the building and school grounds by trained facility personnel.
- Administration will review staffing and supervision plans as necessary throughout the school year. Stress the importance of adult supervision before, during and after school both inside the school and on campus. This includes supervision of common areas such as hallways and restrooms.
- Review security procedures for after school and evening activities and building use.
- Maintain detailed and accurate records of service and delivery personnel and verify the identity of service personnel including those seeking access to utilities, alarm systems and communication systems, maintenance areas and related locations.
- Regarding biological and chemical threats: School officials and school nurses should establish procedures for detecting and reporting unusual absence patterns, in particular sudden mass absences due to reported illnesses. Schools may be in one of the best positions to recognize early signs of such a terrorist attack via major increases in student illness rates.
- School officials will notify public health and or other appropriate public safety personnel as soon as they detect an unusual pattern to issues of attendance.
- Do not allow students to open school mail.
- Educate school staff/ especially the person who opens school mail, so that he/she is familiar with issues related to suspicious packages. All threats should be treated seriously. Review procedures for handling suspicious items such as envelopes with powder substances that may be found in mail or in the school environment.
- Administration will work with custodial and maintenance personnel to establish procedures for quickly shutting down heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems if necessary.
- Review lockdown and evacuation procedures throughout the school year. Note that you may have to execute a lockdown procedure in one part of the building while evacuating another part. Encourage all appropriate communication devices are in working order and accessible to key employees.
- Create "shelter in place" plans to supplement lockdown and evacuation plans. Identify safe area in building to relocate students, preferably with no windows. Confer with local fire, HAZMAT, emergency management and police officials for specific advice.
Information sources for our terrorism preparedness plan include National School Safety and Security Services at www.schoolsecurity.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://emergency.cdc.gov/bioterrorism/prep.asp