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 School Safety & Security Coordinator, Joe Kozarian, meets on a regular basis with local law enforcement, fire department, emergency medical services 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:

    • Check the FCASD homepage, the FCASD Facebook page and/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 FCASD communications office may be inaccurate. In addition, we will use our 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, on-site staff are focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up to the site can create unnecessary traffic, preventing 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 know what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.

    Familiarize yourself with the terms used during emergency situations:

    • Lockout is followed by the Directive: "Get Inside. Lock Outside Doors" and is the protocol used to safeguard students and staff within the building.

    • Lockdown is followed by "Locks, Lights, Out of Sight" and is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep students quiet and in place.

    • Evacuate is always followed by a location and is used to move students and staff from one location to a different location in or out of the building.

    • Shelter is always followed by a type and a method and is the protocol for group and self protection.

    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. 

    FCASD 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 phone as soon as students have reached the safe location. Evacuation does not necessarily mean that school is over for the day. FCASD 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 FCASD district 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 phone notification system. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child’s school. Also check the FCASD homepage, the FCASD Facebook page, and/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 FCASD communications office may be inaccurate. 

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

    Buildings are sometimes placed in lockout 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 lockout, 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 lockout causes major disruption in the normal school day, FCASD will generally notify families via phone. 

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

    All FCASD 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 use the state's Safe2 Say reporting system.

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

    What is FCASD 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 2019-2020 year and beyond.  These additional measures include the following:  

    • Increased the number of armed school police officers in the district.
    • Updated the district's emergency and response plans.  
    • Increased training and professional development opportunities for staff.
    • Increased emphasis and follow up on lockdown, bus evacuation, fire drills, and shelter-in-place drills.