House Bill 1279 changes the configuration of required emergency drills which all schools are required to conduct. The bill recognizes that, due to geographic location, schools have unique safety challenges. It is the responsibility of school principals and administrators to assess the threats and hazards most likely to impact their school.
Schools are required to have at least one drill per month, including summer sessions with students. Drills must practice three basic functional threat responses:
- Shelter-in-place - to limit the exposure of students and staff to hazardous materials, such as chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants, released into the environment by isolating the inside environment from the outside;
- Lockdown - to isolate students and staff from threats of violence, such as suspicious trespassers or armed intruders, that may occur in a school or in the vicinity of a school; and
- Evacuation - to move students and staff away from threats, such as fires, oil train spills, or tsunamis.
A pedestrian evacuation drill must be included for schools in mapped tsunami hazard zones.
- a "drop, cover, and hold" earthquake drill may also be incorporated into the monthly drills. The annual October Great Washington ShakeOut provides an excellent opportunity to practice drop, cover and hold on.
- At least one drill must use the school mapping information system.
To ensure that schools practice at least one drill per month, and to allow for response to locally identified threats and hazards, schools may practice basic selected drills more than once.
At a minimum, schools shall document the date, time, and type (shelter-in-place, lockdown, or evacuate) of each required drill, and shall maintain the documentation in the school office. Districts and schools may also determine additional documentation sites and methods
Schools must document each drill. Adapt this sample form as needed for local use. Coordination with local fire and emergency responders is strongly encouraged.
Defining Emergency Terms for Schools is a 5-minute video tutorial (YouTube) for Washington schools to assist them in their preparedness efforts.
Drills Using the School Mapping System – At least one drill each year must make use of the school mapping system (i.e., Rapid Responder). The intent is that principals and/or other administrators will access the mapping system on a regular basis to increase familiarity with the system and its use in emergent situations.
For the purpose of meeting the requirements of the law, the mapping system should be accessed
during the drill, and information stored in the map should be integrated into the drill. Examples of using the school mapping system in a drill include:
- Conduct an evacuation drill based on a gas-leak scenario, and use the information in the Rapid Responder system to locate the gas shut-off valves. Assign personnel to locate the valves and simulate shutting them down, while concurrently evacuating the school.
- Conduct a fire evacuation drill based on a fire in a specific area of the school building. Use the information in the Rapid Responder system to assess potential hazards in the vicinity of the fire (e.g., hazardous materials or gas lines), and respond appropriately.
- Conduct a lockdown drill that transitions into a campus evacuation drill. Access the Rapid Responder system to determine transportation loading zones and reunification sites.
Contact the Safety Center