Working to Keep our Schools Safe
Working to Keep our Schools Safe
Working to Keep our Schools Safe
Lockdown vs. Shelter-In-Place
DISTRICT EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (EOC)
Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has an EOC that complies with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), and mobile EOC outfitted with all the equipment, communications, and resources of its primary EOC, sufficient to support emergency functions should any incident occur. CUSD has an extensive data base, virtual mapping and photographs of each school in the district, and has individual job descriptions for each position.
California has tried to raise public awareness of earthquake dangers by holding an annual drill called the Great California Shake Out (first conducted in 2008). But emergency services officials say they are worried that residents have lost the sense of urgency, particularly as people change residences, forget to refresh supplies and assume local, state and federal government agencies will provide for them.
All Orange County residents should take an active role to protect each other, families and friends in the event of an emergency (www.readyoc.org). Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with householders forming the base of the structure. The local community, state and the federal government also are part of the pyramid.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is composed of neighbors working as volunteers trained to assist during emergencies. After certification, members attend monthly meetings and are involved in training exercises. Local agencies have training schedule information.
After a disaster, residents will need to provide their own food, water and other supplies for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers on the scene after a disaster cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may take hours or days to arrive. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, a week or longer. Also, residents may have to evacuate at a moment's notice, taking essential belongings.
The Orange County Red Cross recommends every home should plan how to deal with all kinds of disasters. Part of a disaster plan is to have two emergency kits: one for the home and one for the car. The home kit should be stored in an easily accessible location and placed into a mobile, watertight container such as a wheeled trash barrel. The car kit should be in an easily carried pack, such as a backpack, and each kit should have an identification tag for each person.
The Red Cross suggests the following items for both the home and car kits:
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if necessary.
- Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.
To view the complete list and to learn more about how to prepare for any potential disaster, visit the Red Cross website at www.oc-redcross.org.
Other disaster planning tips include registering for Alert OC, the mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents and businesses informed of emergencies. Also, information about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program can be obtained at each city hall.
In an effort to support the school site in establishing an incident command system, CUSD had developed a mobile command unit. This vehicle can be deployed to any school site in CUSD within one-half hour. The vehicle contains:
- Hard copies and CDS of the school safety plans
- Maps and floor plans of all school sites and neighboring areas
- Generator, lights, tables, chairs, and canopies
- Mass casualty bags, water, bullhorns, and signs
The mobile command unit is a resource for school sites. It is not meant to replace supplies that should be housed at the site. The team member(s) deployed with the mobile command are experts in safety/NIMS. This team does not take over command from the principal but supports the principal by guiding them through the crisis and working as a liaison with law enforcement/fire.
DISTRICT SAFETY PLAN- SENATE BILL 187
Each Capistrano Unified school site has a School Safety Plan which includes a comprehensive emergency management plan. Copies are available to read at each school office. Fire drills are held monthly in elementary schools; emergency drills are held each semester at secondary schools.
- California Department of Education's Safe Schools Planning Web page, which includes annual update requirements, School Safety Plan Self-Monitoring Tool, and school safety issues and resources.
- U.S. Department of Education's Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center:
- stopbullying.gov: An Overview of School Districts' Federal Obligation Against Harassment video.
- U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women: Guidance on Preventing Sexual Assault
SCHOOL MOBILE ASSESSMENT AND RESOURCE TEAM (SMART)
The School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (S.M.A.R.T.), a detail operated and supervised through the Orange County Sheriff Department, can be utilized in situations and incidents at schools related to violence, threats, possession and/or use of weapons, bizarre and unstable behaviors, and suicidal statements or tendencies. The S.M.A.R.T. unit works in conjunction with school officials, the probation department, the district attorney's office, and mental health agencies to help resolve safety issues and concerns involving all persons associated to schools within the jurisdiction of the Orange County Sheriff Department.
The unit provides services and resources, including threat assessments, criminal investigation, referrals for counseling, and case management where deemed appropriate. The goal of S.M.A.R.T. is to evaluate and assess each incident individually, effectively resolve the matter through the least intrusive means available (while still maintaining safety and security to the school), and ultimately return the staff and students to their daily routine. Contact with S.M.A.R.T. can be made at anytime.
SUMMARY OF SAFE STORAGE LAWS REGARDING CHILDREN - STATE OF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
You may be guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony if you keep a loaded firearm within any premises that are under your custody or control and a child under 18 years of age obtains and uses it, resulting in injury or death, or carries it to a public place, unless you stored the firearm in a locked container or locked the firearm with a locking device to temporarily keep it from functioning.