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School Emergency Response Terms

Emergency Response Terms for Waterbury Public Schools

  • Evacuation: Used to move students and staff out of the building.
    • During an evacuation, students and staff leave and move to a nearby location and return to the school building right after the cause of evacuation is resolved. Schools practice evacuations regularly (often monthly) during fire drills.
  • Relocation: Used to move students and staff to a pre-designated alternate site following evacuation when it is determined that returning to the school building will not take place within a reasonable period of time.
    • Depending on the time of day and the circumstances, students may be released early or school activities may be changed or put on hold until they are able to return to the school building. Plans should also be in place for students and staff with limited mobility who may need assistance moving to the relocation site.
  • Shelter-in-place: Used during severe weather or other environmental threats that occur outside the school building. 
    • This is a precaution aimed to keep people safe while remaining indoors. Students and staff are to remain indoors, perhaps for an extended period of time, because it is safer inside the building or a room than outside. Class instruction continues and at times students and staff are able to move freely within the building dependent on the situation outside school property. 
  • Lockdown: Used when there is a perceived danger inside the building.
    • A lockdown includes securing each occupied room by locking the door(s) and directing people to move away from windows and doors. Hallways are cleared of students and school staff. Typically, local law enforcement arrives to secure the site and arrange for evacuation or return to usual building activities. Students are kept in their classrooms or other secured areas in the school until the lockdown has ended.
  • Lockout: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood.
    • During a lockout, access to the building is restricted, but there may be some limited movement within the building.