Editorial: Awareness of emergency protocols needed to ensure safety

Staff Editorial || The Voice of the Epic

Patricia Wei and Alex Xu

Lynbrook’s multiple recent fire alarm incidents have shown that safety procedures need to be better communicated to students. Many students are simply unaware of the protocol for both drills and emergency situations, whether these be evacuations or lockdowns.

On April 3, a lockdown at Homestead High School during lunch brought attention to the fact that many Homestead students were unaware of how to respond in the event of a code red, especially at lunch or other free periods.

A code red, or lockdown, is initiated when there is an imminent danger or threat to school safety. The last code red drill at Lynbrook took place during the 2014-2015 school year, which means that about half of Lynbrook students have never experienced a code red drill at Lynbrook, nor learned about “Run, Hide, Defend,” the procedure for code red events implemented by the Santa Clara County about two years ago. In “Run, Hide, Defend,” students run away from the intruder if it is possible and safe to do so. If they cannot run, students then resort to hiding in a barricaded classroom. Teachers and students who choose to may defend themselves as well.

To ensure that students understand such protocols for their safety, in addition to drills, the school can educate them through videos illustrating safety procedures, school-wide text messages and posters in all classrooms.

Videos detailing how students should respond to different emergencies should be shown at the beginning of the year and then uploaded to the Lynbrook website. These videos could be created in collaboration with student groups on campus, such as Red Cross Club or ASB.

“I would really love the idea of partnering with some students or a club on campus to address emergency related concerns,” said Eric Wong, assistant principal in charge of school climate.

These videos would better establish student knowledge of standard procedures. During recent fire drills, students head back to their classrooms before the all-clear signal has been given. It is apparent that many do not realize that they are supposed to stay at the field.

“Just because the siren is off does not mean the situation is clear,” said Jose Ramirez, student conduct specialist. “We turn off the siren because the loud sound may prevent firefighters and staff members from communicating effectively.”

To prepare students and teachers for a code red, each classroom should have a simple diagram that outlines how barricades should be built, which should be specific to each classroom.

Additionally, school-wide text messages should be sent to teachers, students and parents to inform and update them on emergency situations. This would be especially useful to notify students who are off-campus if an emergency occurs at lunch.

“Text messages seem like an easy solution to implement,” said sophomore Jeff Liu. “At FBLA conferences, an app called Remind is used to send announcements to a large group of people.”

Informational videos, text messaging and diagrams in each classrooms are effective ways to aid administration in facilitating the dissemination of information and increasing the frequency of updates about emergency procedures in order to ensure safety on campus.