Emergency Drills and Exercises
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School Safety Center

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Response Grants

School districts must work collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies and school security personnel to develop an emergency response system "using evolving technology to expedite the response and arrival of law enforcement in the event of a threat or emergency at a school" (RCW 28A.320.126).

The 2013 Legislature allocated $10 million in competitive grant capital funds to help school districts with implementing an emergency response system (Second Substitute Senate Bill 5197). School districts can apply for a grant on behalf of their school facilities.

Emergency Grant Systems PowerPoint

These documents were prepared to help districts and schools:

  1. Prepare responses to the Emergency Preparedness Grant process,
  2. Provide general guidance for their overall emergency preparedness planning processes, and
  3. In the development of their district and school safety plans.

In addition to the competitive grants, the legislation also required school districts to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies and school security personnel to develop an emergency response system using evolving technology. This was done to expedite the response and arrival of law enforcement in the event of a threat or emergency at a school. By December 1, 2014, each school district was required to submit a progress report on implementation of such an emergency response to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Based on the legislation, districts were surveyed. View the summary of the survey.

Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operation Plans - 2013, White House released guides for developing high-quality emergency operations plans for schools and other institutions. The guides are a joint product of the USDOE, DHS, DOJ, and HHS and incorporate lessons learned from incidents including shootings and devastating tornadoes.

As of July 2013, Engrossed Senate Bill 5620 changes the required emergency drills that all schools are required to conduct. Schools are required to have no less than one safety-related drill each month, and must document the date and time of each drill.. Over the course of the school year, schools must conduct:

  • 3 fire evacuation drills per school year
  • 3 lockdown drill per school year
  • 1 shelter-in-place drill per school year
  • 1 drill using the school mapping system
  • 1 high-risk event drill determined by the school —earthquake, tsunami, lahar, flood, or other high risk event drills are encouraged

Defining Emergency Terms for Schools is a 5-minute video tutorial (YouTube) for Washington schools to assist them in their preparedness efforts.

The Emergency Plan Checklist (PDF) outlines the actions to take for shelter-in-place, full/modified lockdown, and inclement weather/other emergencies.

The OSPI School Safety Planning Manual defines and explains these emergency drills and exercises, and offers the following downloads:

  • Modified Lockdown Template
  • Full Lockdown Template
  • Shelter-in-Place Template
  • Initial Guidance on Drills
  • Model Emergency Drill Reporting Form

Great Washington ShakeOut! Statewide Earthquake Drill - 2015
Get ready! The Great Washington ShakeOut, the multi-state earthquake drill, will be coming your way again in October. This year’s Great Washington ShakeOut will be held on October 15, 2015, at 10:15 (10.15 at 10:15) in the morning. Thousands of Washington residents join annually in to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”. Learn more at the Great Washington ShakeOut web site – and get ready and register your school/district to participate for the 2015 ShakeOut.

NIMS & ICS - School Preparedness

Weather Preparedness
Climate Prediction Center, The National Weather Service

Natural Disaster Preparedness
Emergency Management Division: It is the mission of the Washington Emergency Management Department to minimize the impact of emergencies and disasters on the people, property, environment, and economy of Washington State.

  • Washington State School Seismic Safety Pilot: Information on geologic hazards across the state to identify our earthquake threats and the most accurate, credible, and up-to-date scientific earthquake information to the public and emergency management community.
  • Tsunami: This sites provides tips and information about tsunamis and tsunami preparedness.
  • Natural Disasters & Severe Weather: This Web site is the Centers for Disease Control and prevention’s information and resources site for preparing for and responding to natural disasters and severe weather conditions.

Teacher-Classroom Resources
Helping children prepare for untimely, possibly traumatic events can decrease their anxiety, and give them a feeling of power in a difficult situation or save their lives.


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Safety Center


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