Emergency Preparedness

 

The Irvine Unified School District and its community partners have developed a number of effective strategies and protocols to employ in the event of an emergency, and drills reinforce these measures regularly throughout the year. Whether the situation involves a regional seismic event or a crisis on campus, it is the intent of our district to:

  1. Take immediate action to minimize the risk of injury

  2. Utilize school personnel and facilities to care for victims

  3. Provide maximum security for students and employees

  4. Provide a safe and calm environment for students

  5. Protect and preserve school property

 

Emergency Notification - IUSD Alert Image

The Irvine Unified School District is committed to the safety of students and staff. In the event of an actual emergency, the District will communicate, by social media, important information to the Irvine community. The emergency information will include this IUSD alert image to emphasize the importance of the message. 

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Comprehensive Safe School Plans

Each year, schools in California are required to update their Comprehensive Safe School Plans, which feature two major components: Emergency Preparedness Plans outline each school’s planned response to an emergency or crisis, while Safe School Action Plans focus on promoting positive school cultures.

Irvine campuses work with their School Site Councils and staff committees to annually update their plans, incorporating the latest school data to improve overall safety. Comprehensive Safe School Plans are brought to the Board of Education for approval in March.

 

Campus lockdown training

In addition to conducting in earthquake and fire drills, Irvine schools practice lockdown procedures each year. In fact, all IUSD campuses have received comprehensive lockdown training from the Irvine Police Department -- and that training is ongoing.

Since October 2007, Irvine schools have engaged in two-tiered training sessions with the Irvine Police Department, which facilitates tabletop drills for school leaders and a full-scale lockdown drill for the entire staff. These trainings have helped our schools develop site-specific responses in collaboration with IPD while identifying critical areas of need.

 

Emergency communications

In 2013, IUSD introduced a brand new notification system enabling near-instantaneous communication with all of the district’s families via phone calls and emails.

The web-based system contracted through SchoolMessenger replaced a number of older district tools, but the upgrade went way beyond consolidating existing services. IUSD is now able to send out emails and pre-recorded calls to 40,000-plus families in just minutes, and text messages are expected to be added in the near future. Because SchoolMessenger maintains data centers across the country, emergency communications won’t be impacted by local power outages or jammed phone lines.

 

Managing a real-life crisis

By utilizing the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) model, our schools and district sites are aligned with the practices of other response agencies, improving their ability to assist.

In the event of an emergency situation during the school day, here are some important points to remember:

We maintain responsibility for our students. Campuses in the Irvine Unified School District will be secured and students will be kept at school until they can safely be released to parents or authorized guardians through an established reunification process.

Staff will remain on campus. Employees are expected to have personal disaster plans for their homes and families so that they can carry out their school disaster responsibilities.

Personnel will be trained. District staff members receive training in SEMS procedures and are provided opportunities for development of necessary skills, including rescue and first aid.

We prepare to be self-sufficient. Though IUSD works closely with the Irvine Police Department, the Orange County Fire Authority and other agencies, it may be necessary to coordinate our own response efforts if emergency personnel are tending to more immediate needs. IUSD staff members have therefore been assigned specific roles and responsibilities, which are practiced during drills throughout the year.

 

What you can do

Create an emergency plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or email to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact's email addresses and telephone numbers. Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try email.

Establish a meeting place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.

Assemble a disaster supply kit. If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place," having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable.

  1. Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container.
  2. Include "special needs" items for any household member (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or older people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each person, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools.
  3. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit.
Know the emergency plan at your child's school. You need to know that your children will be kept at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick-up. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.

 

Additional resources

If you have questions or would like additional information, call (949) 936-5267, or check out these websites: