Thursday, September 19, 2013

Safety First!

Ensuring the safety of our students and staff is our most important responsibility.  We know that accidents do happen, but whenever an unsafe situation occurs such as a tree branch ready to fall, or wet hallways due to the rain, or a wobbly desk, we make sure we report it right away so our custodians or District maintenance team can take care of the problem.  Likewise, we are required to have safety drills on a monthly basis so we can practice and work out any kinks in our procedures.

This year is particularly challenging due to the construction project and the closure of one area of our campus.  Prior to the beginning of school, our Safety Team made adjustments to procedures, and we even had input from the Fire Department to ensure that our exit plans were acceptable.

Despite our best efforts, however,  unexpected events do occur.  Last school year, we had an incident of a possible shooter walking around our base, and students were locked down in their classrooms for a large part of the day.  Fortunately, everything turned out okay, but we did work closely with the military to revise procedures and to be better-prepared should a similar situation occur again.

I bring this up because there is no such thing as being too safe.  Recent events remind us that we need to be proactive and to update or revise our emergency plans  if necessary.

Next week Thursday, September 26, our school will be having an evacuation drill.  We will walk in an orderly manner to the Teen Center which is within walking distance but far enough away from our school to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  The walk is off-campus, and we want to be sure that all parents understand the importance of practicing for these kinds of drills.

For the past few years, the military has been our partner during these evacuation drills.  They assist us by observing our drill from the moment we sound the alarm, throughout our evacuation to the Teen Center, and back to the school.  They take notes, talk with students and adults along the way to ensure that they know the procedures, and make recommendations on how we might improve our evacuation plans.

Parents, it is important to make sure your child is in school on the day of the drill so he/she can practice along with the rest of the class.  We are not just practicing our evacuation plan; we are also ensuring that our communication plan is efficient and that parents and the community are informed in a timely manner.  We want you to trust that our school is prepared to do the best we can to ensure the safety of every child.  To that end, we ask for your cooperation as well.  If you've changed your phone number recently or the emergency contacts you listed at the beginning of the year have moved away, please send a note to the school so we can change your records on our database.  It is important to have correct information on file because our mass messaging system uses the parent's primary phone number to alert parents.

Safety first!  That is our most important rule at Hale Kula!

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