Are the Schools Prepared? A Report on Shoreline School District Emergency Preparedness

Sunday, November 23, 2014

By Marianne Deal Stephens

Following the recent incident in Marysville, local parents are understandably concerned about school safety and the capacity of the district to handle an emergency. At the November 17 Shoreline School Board Meeting, Don Dalziel, District Director of School Safety and Facility Use, and Chuck Goodwin, District Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, provided an update on readiness for various types of emergencies.

The district takes an all-hazards approach, meaning that it prepares for both natural (earthquake, snow, floods, winds) and manmade (hazardous materials, violence) incidents. The State requires drills of different types for the various hazards, and schools in the district have a minimum of one drill per month.

In late 2012, the district initiated a review and revision of emergency procedures, convening an 18-member task force. Between January and March 2013, new lockout and lockdown procedures were finalized, more than 800 staff were trained, and new Emergency Flip Charts (using a checklist approach) were installed in all classrooms. Each school has an Incident Command System (ICS) and maintains a cache of emergency supplies should students and staff need to stay at the school for a length of time. In addition to internal preparations, the district has partnered with the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park police and fire departments and city governments.

In September 2014, the Lake Forest Park Police Department and the district held a full-scale exercise on a non-student day. See previous article.   In October 2014, the district also held a functional exercise at the Shoreline Center.

For the 2014-15 school year, the district has several points of emphasis, as outlined by Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Goodwin, including:

  • Mr. Goodwin in front of all staff members at least once
  • Help schools update and train ICS (Incident Response System) teams
  • Help schools with 3-day large-scale emergency event response plan (i.e., earthquake)
  • Help schools with emergency supplies assessment

When asked how our level of preparedness compares with peer districts, Director Don Dalziel answered “quite well,” and explained that in 2008 the answer would have been much different since the district did not have its present level of awareness and planning. Mr. Goodwin fielded questions from the board about student use of electronic devices during incidents. The district is aware of poor cell phone reception in the high schools, and Mr. Goodwin has trained teachers how to coach student use of social media.


Anonymous,  November 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM  

This level and sort of preparedness is what I expected to as parent of a student 2006 - 2009. Instead, my concerned questions were blown off by Shoreline School District. In spite of too late for my peace of mind, it's good to see they're improving for current students.

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