When it is safer inside than outside: Shelter
CASTLE ROCK – In some emergency situations, the safest course of action is to stay put. That is why Shelter is one of the actions in our Standard Response Protocol (SRP).
September is National Preparedness Month. In recognition, the Douglas County School District is reviewing each element of the SRP. Last week we explained the difference between Lockout and Lockdown. This week, the focus is on Shelter.
When the situation inside the school is safer than outside, we activate our Shelter protocol.
“Sometimes the outside of the building is not safe,” explained Einar Jensen, a life safety educator with South Metro Fire Rescue Authority. “It is a lot safer for students, staff and any families who happen to be there, to take shelter in these modern buildings, protected by a fire alarm system, protected by a sprinkler system and protected by great construction.”
Most commonly our students practice this protocol during tornado drills, but it can be used for other severe weather events, a bomb threat, hazardous materials situation, and in some cases even a fire.
“Some of the schools in the more rural parts of Douglas County might find themselves in a wildfire situation where outside the building might be smoky, there might be actual fire out there, but the building is safe,” Jensen explained.
What to Do: Shelter
When the Shelter protocol is activated, school leaders will announce “Shelter” on the public address system and then provide instructions regarding the required action. For instance teachers may be instructed to lock all doors and lead the students to designated “safe areas” for the particular emergency. In the event of a tornado, this may be an interior passageway, away from windows.
Depending on the situation, students may also be instructed to drop, cover and hold. This method is used for imminent danger to the building or immediate surroundings, such as a tornado touchdown or bombing.
Teachers play a crucial role in leading the students to a safe location and ensure the safety of every student in the building.