School Emergency Procedures » School Emergency Procedures

School Emergency Procedures

School Emergency Procedures
Safety begins with prevention and having a plan in place. State law requires schools to conduct several drills a year, including practice for shelter-in-place, lockdown, and evacuation. Our Safety Coordinator, Mike Travis, trains on a regular basis with local law enforcement, fire department, and other emergency response agencies.  Every school site has security cameras and a secure single point of entry. 

If there is an emergency at your child’s school, please help us by doing the following things:

  • Check the IASD homepage, the IASD Facebook page or our Twitter feed. We will provide credible, accurate and useful information to the public as soon as possible. Expect to see our posts updated as necessary. We will also provide updates to local media, but be aware that emergency situations can change rapidly. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or IASD communications office may be inaccurate. 

    In addition, we will use our BrightArrow phone and text notification system to contact parents and guardians with updates and information in as timely a manner as possible. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child's school.

  • Do not call or go to the school. In an emergency, onsite staff is focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up to the site can create unnecessary traffic, prevent emergency vehicles from responding quickly, and may also put you in danger.

    If you get a call or text from your student, help him or her remain calm. Remind your student that the school staff knows what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.

  • Familiarize yourself with the terms used during emergency situations:
    • Soft Lockdown: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood. Exterior doors are locked, but normal activities continue inside the building.
    • Hard Lockdown: Used when there is an imminent threat directly outside of a school.  Normal activity does not continue.  Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, and blinds are closed.  Everyone is directed to move away from windows and into a safe place.  IASD will remain in a hard lockdown until advised by police that the imminent threat (outside of our school) is contained.  Note:  IASD will not open any exterior door for anyone other than local first responders while in a hard lockdown.  
    • Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
    • Shelter-in-place: Used during severe weather or other environmental threats (e.g., air contamination due to a local fire) to keep people safe while remaining indoors.


Frequently Asked Questions  

How does the district handle threats of violence?

School staff follows practiced procedures to ensure that students and the public are safe and secure. The principal and his/her team first contact emergency services and then district administrators who initiate a building crisis team to gather information on the type and degree of threat. 

IASD office staff have been trained to react to all threats of violence in a prescribed manner, based on consultation with law enforcement. All threats are treated as real, and we report them to local, regional, and national law enforcement as appropriate for investigation and prosecution. 

If a threat is deemed credible, students and staff will evacuate the building and go to a pre-determined safe location. Families will be notified via BrightArrow as soon as students have reached the safe location. Evacuation does not necessarily mean that school is over for the day.  IASD can arrange for buses to keep students safe and warm in the event of poor weather. Notification regarding school being released for the day will ONLY come from the IASD central office and will include the reason for the release and pickup instructions.

When are parents notified about a school emergency?

When a critical incident impacts a school community, we notify parents as soon as possible via our BrightArrow notification system. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child’s school. Also check the IASD homepage, the IASD Facebook page, or our Twitter feed for updates.

Typically, emergency situations are fluid and multiple agencies are involved, so communication is coordinated through the “lead agency,” which may cause a delay in notification. We will provide as much credible, accurate and timely information as possible. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or IASD communications office may be inaccurate.


Are there times when families aren’t notified about an emergency?

Buildings are sometimes placed in soft lockdown for a brief amount of time, when a school is, for example, notified by law enforcement that a search or arrest warrant is being served nearby. During a soft lockdown, students are brought in from outdoors, but other activities within the school continue as normal. Most modified lockdowns are for very short periods and often students are unaware that one is occurring. If a soft lockdown causes a major disruption in the normal school day, IASD will generally notify families via BrightArrow. 


What do I do if I see or hear of a threat after school hours?

All IASD staff and members of the community are encouraged to report anything they see, hear, or are made aware of if it may impact a school or school program. If you see or hear something, say something: call 911 or the District's Safety Coordinator, Mike Travis, at (724) 463-7591.

If required, IASD will determine the course of action and next steps in order to maintain a safe and secure school environment.


What is IASD doing to increase the safety of its schools?

Following recommendations from the comprehensive safety-security study done in 2018, we initiated additional security measures for the 2018 year and beyond.  These additional measures include the following:  

  • Increased the number of armed security guards in the District - one at the High School and one at the Middle School. 
  • Initiated an anonymous tip-text line for all students in crisis or with tips of impending danger through the Safe2Say Something platform. 
  • Updated the District's emergency and response plans.  
  • Increased training and professional development opportunities for staff, including active shooter training.
  • Increased emphasis and follow-up on lockdown, bus evacuation, fire drills, and shelter-in-place drills.