Our Emergency Procedure Manual outlines our responses to various emergencies including earthquakes, fires, power outage, loss of water, serious accident or illness among staff or children, severe winter storms, school intruder/strangers/volatile encounters, hazardous waste accidents or chemical emergency. The plan, which staff reviews annually, is posted with the resource documents in ParentsWeb for you to review.
In order to be prepared and to comply with state law, we hold monthly fire, lockdown, shelter-in-place and earthquake drills. This may upset some younger children. We urge you to practice for earthquakes and fire evacuation at home. It is prudent and if familiar with them, children won't think these drills happen only at school.
Because our region has the potential for catastrophic earthquakes, the Washington state Department of Emergency Management asks parents to provide an emergency comfort kit for their children. These kits are generally reserved for very serious events in which children may be stranded at school for an unknown amount of time, for survival, comfort and distraction. We also ask, in case of such an emergency, that you provide a three-day supply of any critical medications that your child needs to take daily. Here are the specific kit instructions for the program levels:
- Toddler, Early Childhood & Elementary First Day Items & Comfort Kit Instructions
- Secondary Emergency Kit Instructions
We suggest that each family have their own emergency contact plan, which includes the number of an out-of-state contact in case of major emergencies here. It is generally easier to call out of state than locally at such times. In such an emergency each family member calls the out-of-state contact to let them know where and how they are. That contact lets other family members know what's happening. Please include that number as one of the emergency contacts for your child, in case it is easier for us to reach that person than to reach you.
WMS also keeps some supplies of food, water and first aid materials here.
All staff members are trained in First Aid, CPR and have taken a Blood Borne Pathogens-HIV/AIDS prevention course.
EMERGENCY CLOSURE GUIDELINES
Occasionally we must close school due to snow and driving conditions, or water, power or heat outages. During the school day, we will only decide to close when it would risk the health and safety of children to stay open. On those rare occasions we will contact parents to pick up their child. If we cannot reach parents we will try their emergency contacts. Secondary students may contact their own parents. Staff will always stay at school until the last parents leave.
Should school be closed for any reason, WMS reserves the right to reschedule make-up days as needed, or not. Those days may be scheduled during the school year, or may extend it. Any prepaid child care fees will be applied to the make-up days. No refunds are given because of emergency closures.
In a widespread event, such as a large earthquake, please try not to flood our phone lines immediately. We need to keep our phones open in order to call for help or to contact the families of any who are injured. Under our school emergency procedures, we will first call for emergency aid, then activate a message on our voicemail and contact the parents of any injured children. Then we will notify others. If you must call us, please try to be brief.
If parents come to school to help in an emergency, we follow specific emergency procedures. Please check in with the Building Supervisors and follow their instructions rather than taking any action on your own. Also, please watch your conversations at such times. Our goal is to reassure and comfort children, not to present them with more frightening information gleaned from parents discussing what they have heard on the news. All students of all ages must be signed out at a central location before they are taken home in an emergency. Please remember to do this so we can keep track of everyone and relay messages to others in a family who are equally concerned about the whereabouts of children. Make sure you have as many people as possible authorized to pick your child up in the event of colossal traffic jams in widespread emergency events.
In photo: Our Upper El students learned first aid and CPR last spring.