September is Emergency Preparedness Month, which is an opportunity to remind our community about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Not only do we live in an earthquake zone but we also live in a region that is prone to wildfires, among other potential hazards, which means that preparation now can help keep our families safe during an emergency and help our community recover from a large scale event.
Below is information about what IUSD does to prepare our schools in the event of an emergency, tips for what you can do to be prepared and important information and resources from the Irvine Police Department. Please take a moment to read these resources:
What You Need to Know About School
District schools 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 been assigned specific roles and responsibilities, which are practiced during drills throughout the year. Additionally, IUSD teachers and staff are receiving Stop the Bleed training to help save lives until emergency personnel can arrive on scene.
IUSD maintains 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. Your school or the District will provide information about reunification by phone, email and text messages first. Information will also be provided on your school’s website, iusd.org and social media.
IUSD has an established parent/child reunification process. Students will only be released to persons listed on the school’s emergency contact card. If you are not sure who is listed on your emergency card, login to Parent Portal and go to the “Contact” page. Here you will be able to see who is an authorized emergency contact and the date it was last updated. Please be sure to keep this information up to date.
When picking up your child, the authorized adult must have a valid picture ID, such as a driver’s license, state identification card or passport.
For more information about IUSD student and campus safety resources, visit iusd.org/safety.
Stay Connected to IUSD
SchoolMessenger. IUSD schools and the District Office use SchoolMessenger for emergency notifications. During an emergency, first check your voicemail, text messages and email for the most up-to-date information from the District. If you unsubscribed from school or District emails, you will not receive important updates during an emergency. To re-subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s easy to opt-in for text messages. If you haven’t already opted-in for text messages from your school and IUSD, text "Y" to 67587 from each wireless device you wish to receive texts on. Not sure if you opted-in already? No problem! You can never opt-in too many times, just follow the step above. For additional information, visit IUSD's Text Message Frequently Asked Questions page.
Keep Your Information Updated. Make sure we have your most up-to-date contact information. Be sure that your 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, so it is important your school knows how to reach you. Login to Parent Portal and go to the “Contact” page. Here you will be able to see who is an authorized emergency contact and the date it was lasted updated.
IUSD Website. Visit iusd.org for updates and official information.
Social Media. Stay connected to IUSD on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. During recent disasters throughout the U.S., social media has proven to be a very effective and real-time way to communicate, especially when phone lines are down.
- Like IUSD on Facebook: facebook.com/irvineunifiedschooldistrict
- Follow IUSD on Twitter: twitter.com/iusd
- Follow IUSD on Instagram: instagram.com/irvine_unified
What You Need to Know at Home and Work
Visit the Irvine Police Department’s Emergency Management webpage. For important information about how you can be prepared at home and work for an emergency, visit the Irvine Police Department’s emergency preparedness webpage at cityofirvine.org/prepare. This comprehensive webpage has information about family safety plans, how to assemble a disaster supply kit, and other important information.
Register your work, home and cellphones with AlertOC. AlertOC is a mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents and businesses informed of emergencies. By registering with AlertOC, time-sensitive voice messages from the City of Irvine may be sent to your home, mobile, or business phone. Text messages may also be sent to mobile phones, e-mail accounts, and hearing impaired receiving devices. For more information or to register your phones, visit AlertOC.org.
Those living in areas prone to wildfires should take extra precautions. The Irvine Police Department has partnered with the Orange County Fire Authority to help residents protect against wildfires. Residents in at-risk areas – including Quail Hill, Shady Canyon, Portola Springs, Turtle Rock, and Orchard Hills should especially review the following:
- Protect your home by taking steps to mitigate risk, including creating defensible space
- Assemble a bag filled with necessities such as clothes and medication
- Plan evacuation routes and leave early in the event of a wildfire
- Prepare a family reunification plan.
What You Can Do in the Community
The Irvine Police Department’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a free program designed to prepare citizens to help themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event of a catastrophic disaster. For more information, visit cityofirvine.org/CERT or email CERT@cityofirvine.org.