MANUAL HELPS SCHOOLS DEAL WITH CRISIS

November 28, 2000 11:00 pm

Kalmiopsis Elementary School Principal Chris McKay has spent nearly seven years gathering information to ensure the safety of school students during nearly every type of emergency.

Her latest efforts can be seen in the newly revised Emergency Procedure Manual recently presented to the 17-C District School Board.

We feel really good about this, McKay told the board. Were able to respond to just about any situation and quickly.

McKay, with the help of staff and teachers, spent the last two years revising and updating the manual. She brought the idea of having such a manual with her to Brookings when she left Ontario, Ore., where school officials were beginning to experience problems with gangs.

McKay initial goal was to combine all the existing emergency preparedness manuals at Brookings-Harbor schools into one easy-to-read document. And she wanted it to reflect what was happening in modern society.

Society is changing, and we need to keep up with those changes, she said.

The newest version of the manual is a color-coded flip-chart style document that hangs in every classroom and district office. The document is modeled after one used by a school district in Eugene, Ore.

The manual gives detailed instructions on how to respond to various emergency situations, including suicide attempts, dangerous person on campus, bomb scares and hazardous waste accidents. Teachers are also provided information on how to report child abuse, assess medical situations and deal with bodily fluid spills.

The manual is accompanied by a list a emergency phone numbers and maps specific to each school building.

McKay said each school regularly conduct drills for situations listed on the manuals green pages.

The drills include where to send children, securing a room from outside threats, and directing evacuation efforts.

See School manual, Page 10A

When we had the bomb threat at the beginning of the year, we used the green pages, McKay said. Teacher later told me that when they heard the words green pages in the announcement, they immediately stopped what they were doing and listened.

After each drill, the schools staff meets to discuss what worked and what didnt.

Weve taken the job of having safe schools seriously and made it a priority, McKay said. We can never predict all the things that can go wrong, but we can be prepared for it and respond appropriately. I feel good about that.

So does Superintendent Paul Prevenas.

Were as prepared as a school district can be, and I hope we never have to us it, he said.

Prevenas said the effort to revised emergency procedures at the schools began in earnest following a school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Brookings-Harbor schools have experienced three bomb scares during the last calendar year, he said.

When we had the bomb threat in January, that proved that what weve been doing is very valuable, Prevenas said.

Prevenas lauded McKay for her efforts.

Shes always had a special interest in dealing with crisis management and disaster preparedness, he said. Shes done a good job at pulling it all together.

When we had the bomb threat at the beginning of the year, we used the green pages, McKay said. Teacher later told me that when they heard the words green pages in the announcement, they immediately stopped what they were doing and listened.

After each drill, the schools staff meets to discuss what worked and what didnt.

Weve taken the job of having safe schools seriously and made it a priority, McKay said. We can never predict all the things that can go wrong, but we can be prepared for it and respond appropriately. I feel good about that.

So does Superintendent Paul Prevenas.

Were as prepared as a school district can be, and I hope we never have to us it, he said.

Prevenas said the effort to revised emergency procedures at the schools began in earnest following a school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Brookings-Harbor schools have experienced three bomb scares during the last calendar year, he said.

When we had the bomb threat in January, that proved that what weve been doing is very valuable, Prevenas said.

Prevenas lauded McKay for her efforts.

Shes always had a special interest in dealing with crisis management and disaster preparedness, he said. Shes done a good job at pulling it all together.