Harrisburg Academy strongly believes in the importance and effectiveness of practicing emergency procedures or “crisis drills.” Research shows that practicing specific procedures helps both adults and children react appropriately to an actual crisis, which minimizes the hesitation, panic, and chaos and in turn minimizes the possibility of injury or trauma.
The National Association of School Psychologists states: “While high profile crisis events and instances of violent crimes at school are extremely rare (e.g., the odds of a student being the victim of a school-associated homicide are about 1 in 2.5 million), it is essential that all schools be prepared to respond to emergency situations as part of their school safety and crisis planning and preparation. Current state laws already require certain types of drills (e.g., fire drills) and many schools have begun to conduct a much broader range of crisis exercises and drills. Which type of drills are conducted and how is critical to both their effectiveness and minimizing the potential to cause trauma or harm unintentionally.”
At the Academy, we practice a minimum of one emergency drill a month. The first drill of the year is always announced in advance to give teachers and students a chance to review the procedure before the drill, experience the drill, and then review how well it went. All subsequent drills are unannounced, scheduled on different days of the week, different cycle days, and at different times of the day. We also practice drills after school hours so that those who are here after-hours are also familiar with and have practiced the appropriate procedures.
Our response during an emergency is based on the type of situation that occurs. We use one of four responses:
- Staying in place – used to keep occupants safe while remaining indoors.
- Lockdown – used to secure the occupants in the building.
- Evacuation – used when occupying a building or all buildings is no longer safe.
- Reverse evacuation – used when outside conditions are no longer safe.
We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of all the members of our school community. We consistently review and amend our emergency procedures as suggested or determined by our local emergency responders, including police, firefighters, Homeland Security, and other health and safety officials. Visit the Academy’s website for more details on our emergency response procedures and daily safety processes.
We strongly encourage all families to perform safety assessments in and around your homes, and plan and practice safety drills to better prepare your family for any and all emergencies. Always be safe!