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Standard Response Protocol: How we communicate during an emergency

CASTLE ROCK – If an emergency happens at a school or an office, there usually is not much time to warn students, employees and guests about what is happening or what to do. That is why the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has implemented the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) at all of its facilities.

Unlike previous emergency plans developed by the District, SRP is not based on individual scenarios, but rather on the response to any given scenario.

“SRP is a very clean, clear cut language on how we respond to an emergency,” explained DCSD Emergency Management Coordinator Zach Nannestad. “Instead of having 20 different things we could do—“if this happens, do this”—it all boils down to four actions. Four things that no matter what happens, all of the incidents that we could think could happen at a school, you are going to do one of these four things.”

Since Douglas County has over 80 public schools, charter and alternative schools, emergency planning must be a primary objective of each individual site. All sites must plan, coordinate, exercise, and respond accordingly to potential incidents that threaten their students, staff, and facilities.

VIDEO: Watch what the four SRP commands mean.

 

To assist site administrators, Douglas County School District utilizes a system called Standard Response Protocol (SRP) to guide administrators, staff, classrooms, and individual students through standardized responses regardless of the threat. This all-hazards approach focuses not on the incident itself, but rather on the required response by those involved. The SRP provides four simple concise actions to be taken regardless of whether a tornado has been spotted nearby or criminal activity has been reported or a wildfire is on the horizon. Instead of initiating different actions for each scenario, the SRP utilizes the four actions for all potential threats. The four responses are:

Lockout
Action: Secure the Perimeter
If there is a threat outside the building, bring everyone in and lock the outside doors. Lockout is called by district or site administrator. Lockout can be called when staff or students notice something weird or strange. A Lockout could be the response to a violent person or incident in the community near your school. Teachers, staff or administration will get students back into the building. Teachers will take roll and notify the office of missing or extra students. Lockout means an increased situational awareness, but class will be conducted as usual.
 
 
 
Lockdown
Action: Lock, Lights, Out of Sight
Lockdown is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep students quiet and in place. Teachers will lock classroom doors and turn lights out. In addition, teachers and students will move away from corridor line of sight and maintain silence. The teacher will take roll and account for all students. Occupants of rooms will not unlock their rooms for anything or anyone. When the incident is over, a responsible person capable of unlocking the room from out in the hall (administrator, custodian, Law Enforcement, etc) will unlock the door and brief the occupants.  
 
 
Shelter
Action: Follow the Directions
This action is similar to “shelter in place”, however the SRP gives specific instructions within the action. For example instead of just announcing shelter, the command may be “Shelter for tornado, drop cover and hold”. The command will be to shelter, what we are sheltering from, and the specific self protection action to do. Some examples of announcements could include:

Shelter for Earthquake
Drop, Cover and Hold
Shelter for Tornado 
Drop, Cover and Hold
Shelter for Hazmat 
Seal the Room
Shelter for Fire 
Drop and Crawl
Shelter in Silence 
Maintain Silence

Teachers will ensure they have all of their students by taking roll.
 


 
Evacuate
Action: Follow the Directions
Evacuate means moving students in an orderly fashion from point A to point B. A fire drill is really: “Evacuate Out of the Building.” With the SRP, Evacuate is always followed by a location. For instance: Evacuate to the Gym. The order to evacuate will always be followed by a location. Administrators, teachers, and building staff all need to work together to quickly, quietly, and safely evacuate students to the evacuation point. Students and staff will leave stuff (backpacks, books, etc) behind. Instructions detailing specific actions during the evacuation may take place such as holding hands, covering heads, and/or crawling. Teachers will ensure they bring a roll sheet. Immediately upon reaching the evacuation point, teachers should take roll.       
 

 

Reunification
Action: Stay Home, Stay Informed, Be Prepared!

About Standard Response Protocol

The Standard Response Protocol was developed by the "I Love U Guys" Foundation, headed by John-Michael Keyes and his wife Ellen-Stoddard Keyes as a result of the tragic and unfortunate death of their daughter Emily Keyes on September 27th, 2006 at Platte Canyon High School. On this day, a gunman entered the high school, held seven girls hostage and ultimately shot and killed Emily Keyes. During the time she was held Hostage, she sent her parents text messages..."I Love You Guys" and "I Love U Guys, K?" The "I Love U Guys" Foundation was created to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government agencies. If you would like to know more about the foundation please visit www.iloveuguys.org

Several Front Range School Districts, including the Douglas County School District, have incorporated the Standard Response Protocol into their emergency planning as well as collaborated with our first response partners (law enforcement/fire/medical). Utilization of the Standard Response Protocol puts all staff, students, and first responders on the same page. By standardizing the announcements, responses, actions, and recovery, the district hopes to provide the safest most successful incident outcome.

The four, simple commands make it much easier for anyone inside the school or District offices to know what they are expected to do.

“We’re using intercom systems, sometimes we’re using radio, sometimes it’s cell phones. The simpler the language, the greater the impact,” Nannestad said.

He says schools are safer because all Douglas County first responders use the SRP protocol and are connected by interoperable communications systems, which allow school personnel to talk directly to emergency responders.

“Not only are the schools in the school district talking the same language but we’re also talking the same language as law enforcement, fire or medical,” Nannestad said. “Everyone knows what it means when they’re going into a Lock Down situation."

Learn More: Douglas County's Emergency Plan

 

Opt-in for text messaging

opt in for emergency text messages. Send "Yes to 68453.Anytime the Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is activated at a school, the DCSD Communications team will quickly send parents an alert via phone, text and email messages, letting them know of the Lockout, Lockdown, Shelter in Place or Evacuation.

This initial message will be short, providing only the basics of the situation and will likely look like this:

(INSERT SCHOOL NAME): LOCKOUT – Students brought indoors. Learning and other activities continue as normal. More info to come. From DCSD Communications

The DCSD Communications team will provide additional updates about the situation, as needed, until it is resolved. They will then partner with the affected school to provide parents and guardians final information about the incident.

These messages will be sent using the District’s emergency notification system. Phone calls will come from 855-695-9448 and text messages will be sent from 68453. Please consider adding both numbers to your phone’s contacts as “DCSD Emergency.”

All other school and District related communication will be from 877-279-4061 and 67587.

Read, download, and share the publication below, A Parent's Guide to Crisis Communications

 

 

What Should Parents/Guardians Do During an Emergency?

As you know, DCSD's number one priority during an emergency is keeping our students safe. For this reason, we ask for our family’s assistance in the following three ways:

  • Stay Home
  • Stay Informed
  • Be Ready

Stay Home
We know the natural instinct as a parent or guardian during an emergency is to come to school to protect your child. By doing so, you may endanger yourself and your child. The most important contribution you can make is to stay home and await further instructions.

Stay Informed
DCSD is committed to providing timely information. In some situations accurate information may take some time to verify and share, so we ask for your patience.

During an emergency, DCSD will provide information via the appropriate communication avenues, which may include:

  • District Website
  • Voice, Text & Email Messages
  • DCSD Mobile App
  • Social Media – including Facebook & Twitter
  • Local News Media

Be Ready
Depending on the nature of the emergency, specific actions may be required of parents. For instance, during a reunification event, you may need to come to the school to pick up your child. Please follow the directions sent by the District or your child’s school.

Sign Up for Emergency Messaging or Change Preferences

You are always welcome to add new emergency contacts or change your messaging preferences:

  • Parents: Log into the Infinite Campus Parent Portal and click on “Contact Preferences” in the left-hand column. If you see an incorrect phone number or email, please contact the registrar at your child’s school to request an update.
  • Staff: Log into Workday.

After confirming that you have opted-in to text messaging for emergency and/or school notifications via Infinite Campus, you will also want to send a text message to the following:

  • Emergency text notification: Send text to 68453 with the message “YES”
  • Standard/School text notification: Send text to 67587 with the message “YES”

 

Have additional questions?
Should you have additional questions, please contact the IT Support Center (303-387-0001) to ensure you receive emergency notifications accurately and quickly.