Parents Guide to Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Plans


The Portland Public School District (PPS) is committed to the safety and security of our students, staff and visitors.

Every school within the District has a School Crisis Response Plan that identifies roles and responsibilities of school and administrative staff to deal with emergency situations. All school staff and students train regularly on procedures for situations that would require evacuation, shelter-in-place, lock-in or lock-out measures.

Each school has pre-designated primary and alternate evacuation sites. The Crisis Response Plans are reviewed and updated regularly. District staff also participate in drills and exercises that test capabilities in reacting and responding to an emergency situation.

All parents, visitors, vendors and contractors are requested to sign in at the school’s main office immediately upon entering the building. School building doors will remain secured throughout the day to control access into the facility. The objective in securing buildings is not to inconvenience our parents and community, rather to ensure we protect our students and staff. All parents, visitors, vendors and contractors are requested to also sign out at the school office prior to leaving the building. It is very important that the school staff knows who is in the building at all times for safety reasons.

Evacuation may be necessary whenever a threat creates a harmful environment for students and staff within the building. In the event of an evacuation the students and staff would be accounted for and then move to the primary or alternate evacuation site to await re-unification with their parents. An example of a situation that may require evacuation of the building and immediate area could be a fire, verified bomb threat, or other threat that would make the building and surrounding area unsafe to stay at.

Depending on the nature of the emergency it may become necessary for the school to conduct a shelter-in-place which means that no one will be permitted to enter or leave the building. Staff and students would seek shelter in a classroom or other designated area. Ventilation systems would be shut off by the custodian. An example of a shelter in place event could be a chemical spill or a severe weather event.

Another type of emergency response is a lock-out. A lock-out is utilized when there is a dangerous situation occurring outside and near the school grounds. No one will be permitted to enter or leave the school during a lock-out. All outside doors will be secured by the school staff. Classes will continue as normal until the situation allows for the lock-out to be terminated. An example of a lock-out event could be an active Police situation in the vicinity of the school.

The last type of emergency response is the lock-in. This is utilized when there is a dangerous situation occurring within the school building itself and it is not safe to evacuate the school due to the situation. When the school is notified to go into lock-in all occupants will secure themselves in the nearest classroom or other securable room. Windows will be covered and all students and staff should remain low to the ground and away from windows. Everyone will remain as quiet as possible and will not answer doors for anyone. Teachers will account for students within their classroom. An example of a lock-in event could be an armed intruder in the school who has started shooting at people.

If the school does evacuate to an alternate site the parent reunification plan will be utilized to reunite students with their parents. Relocation to an alternate site would take place when it is determined by school officials that keeping students and staff in the building would be hazardous to their safety. It is critical that all student emergency contact cards be current. This will insure that the school has correct phone numbers as well as individuals to whom students can be released to.

ANYONE not listed on a student emergency contact card will not be permitted to remove a student from school custody. There are no exceptions to this policy. In the event of an evacuation and relocation to an alternate site, parents and guardians should not come to the school. It is vital that parents await communication as to where reunification will occur. The District understands that this may be very difficult and stressful, however, in the best interest of students, staff and emergency first responders it is important that this protocol be followed. All individuals must be positively identified by our staff or provide valid identification. Student safety is our primary concern.

What parents need to do:

Insure that your child’s emergency card information is correct. We need to maintain accurate records so that we can ensure appropriate communication with parents/guardians.

What parents should not do:

Do not rush to the school or call the individual school in an emergency situation. It will be natural to want to do this, but this will greatly hinder the emergency effort. The District will keep parents informed through the radio, television, telephone, text message or e-mail and the District website. Also, do not send relatives that are not on the emergency card to pick up students, they will not be released to them unless they are on the emergency card.

PPS continually refines and updates its emergency response planning to be vigilant about the safety of its students and staff. PPS works diligently to ensure our emergency plan is current and that all staff members and students are prepared to react to all types of contingencies. Your cooperation and assistance is greatly needed to assist the District in this extremely important endeavor.