The need for orderly and safe evacuation during certain situations is critical to the safety of the occupants of a school building. If such a threat is deemed immediate, credible, and reasonable, the Principal or designee may order a non-fire building evacuation. In the event the Principal or designee believes a threat does not exist or immediate evacuation is not required, the Principal or designee shall review the situation with the Superintendent of Schools, who may consult with local law enforcement officials to review the threat risk.
A. Procedures in the Event it is Determined a Non-Fire Evacuation is Warranted
1. The Principal or designee will immediately order a non-fire evacuation of the school building. The notification process may be the school’s fire alarm system, a notice over the school’s public address system, or any other method deemed appropriate by the Principal or designee to inform building occupants to evacuate the school building. The evacuation may be an entire or partial building evacuation depending on the circumstances.
2. The Principal or designee will:
a. Immediately call local law enforcement officials;
b. Immediately call the Superintendent of Schools;
c. Ensure any school buses enroute to the school or other vehicles entering the school grounds are redirected to a designated alternative location pending further instructions from law enforcement officials;
d. Notify and maintain contact with the Superintendent of Schools regarding the communication to be released to parents, community and media; and
e. Allow local enforcement officials to control the scene upon their arrival.
3. School staff members, upon receiving notice the school needs to be evacuated, will:
a. Direct pupils to gather personal belongings in the classroom or within their immediate area;
b. Instruct pupils not to use any electronic communication device until instructed otherwise;
c. Close the windows and doors of their vacated rooms and turn off any light or electrical switch;
d. Take the pupil roster and the day’s attendance;
e. Lead their class or the pupils under their supervision upon receiving the evacuation notice to the evacuation area;
f. Take attendance when arriving at the evacuation area and report any additional pupils or missing pupils to the Principal or designee;
g. Not allow any pupil to re-enter the building, leave the evacuation area, or be dismissed from school unless authorized by the Principal or designee or law enforcement officials; and
h. Not speak to the media or permit media to interview any pupil.
B. Procedures After it is Determined the School Building Can be Reoccupied
1. The Principal or designee, upon a determination by school and law enforcement officials that the threat or risk is concluded, will direct the reoccupation of the building.
2. If it is determined the building is not safe to re-enter, the Principal or designee will notify school officials of the situation at the evacuation assembly locations. If it is determined pupils will be released for the day, the Principal or designee, in consultation with the Superintendent of Schools, will coordinate pupil dismissal procedures from the evacuation assembly areas and family notification and reunification protocols.
3. The school district will provide school district staff and other school district crisis response team members to provide counseling and support as needed.
Critical Incident Response Procedures for School Administrators, Faculty and Staff – The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey Department of Education – 2010
Adopted: 21 April 2005
Revised: February 2011