Delta School District makes emergency terminology simpler

The Delta School District has updated its emergency procedures.

The district is going through a soft launch this month as it brings its staff, students and parents up to speed on the new terminology.

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According to the district, most B.C. school districts have moved away from existing terms for emergency procedures and adopted language that is more universally accepted by first responders.

Delta’s current school emergency procedures have been in place for more than 15 years and include the familiar, but somewhat vague, code green, code yellow and code red procedures. Through consultation with the Delta Police Department and other partners, the district is transitioning to new terminology.

Assistant superintendent Brad Bauman said the changes have been in the planning stage for quite a while and are part of a larger emergency preparedness model for the district.

“One of our goals is that by moving away from broad terminology like code red and code yellow to more specific language, parents will have a better understanding of what is happening at your child’s school in the event of an emergency,” said Bauman.

“We encourage parents to familiarize themselves with this information as a preventative measure against confusion and unnecessary concern in the event of an incident.”

The new emergency procedures include:

Evacuate: used to move people out of the school when a hazard exists inside.

Hold & secure: used if there is a security concern in the neighbourhood.

Lockdown: used in response to an armed or dangerous assailant within the school.

Shelter in place: used if an environmental hazard may impact the school.

Drop, cover & hold on: used in the event of an earthquake, explosion or any event that shakes the school.

Room clear: used to move people away from a hazard contained in one room/area.

Bauman said in the event of an incident at a school or district building, this language is what will be used to communicate with staff, students, police (if required) and the public.

He said during the summer posters with the new procedures were placed in every classroom and school building in Delta. School district administrative staff have begun training around this terminology and will continue to work to implement these changes with staff and students. Newsletters and emails are also going out to all parents notifying them of the new procedures.

As well, DPD school liaison officers will work with schools to prepare for emergency drills this fall that will utilize the new terminology.

DPD public affairs coordinator Cris Leykauf said the department welcomes the new procedures and terminology.

“Anything where we can give parents a bit more timely information is a good thing,” said Leykauf. “We do try and get the information out there are quickly as possible, we just don’t want to get out incorrect information because it is hard to walk stuff back, especially on social media. This language is straightforward and will allow us to better communicate with the public.”

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