As part of our safety preparedness, we conducted safety drills throughout the year. We focus on three types of emergencies:
• Lockdown – practiced 3 times per year
• Earthquake – practiced 3 times per year
• Fire – practiced 6 times per year (part of the Fire BC Code)
The Ministry of Education, CISVA and the local RCMP work in partnership to create safe school environments, and to prepare in the event of an emergency, disaster and/or critical incident.
Monitoring and alignment with best practice is always necessary. St. Bernadette’s continuously consolidates best practice from experts in the emergency management area such as the RCMP, CISVA, local school districts (Surrey, Delta, Langley and Vancouver), emergency response agencies in the USA, and other K-12 and post-secondary institutions across North America. In addition, the Ministry of Education recently published a document with global recommendations for school districts on emergency preparedness and procedure terminology. All of these agencies, schools and authorities have been consulted in the creation of our safety preparedness.
We conduct three types of lockdown drills:
• Lockdown– will only be used when there is a major incident or threat of school violence within the school, or in relation to the school.
• Hold and Secure (Lockout)– will be used when it is desirable to secure the school due to an ongoing situation outside and not related to the school (e.g. a police incident, an incident at that parish, etc.). In these situations, the school continues to function normally, with the exterior doors being locked until such time as the situation near the school is resolved.
• Shelter in Place– will be used for an environmental or weather-related situation, where it is necessary to keep everyone within the school, to protect them from an external situation. Examples may include chemical spill, gas leak, power outage, explosion or extreme weather conditions.
* On Thursday, October 11th, there was a shooting a few blocks away from the school. In assessing the situation, the RCMP did not feel our school was at risk and we did not go into Hold and Secure. However, an elementary school 200m away from the shooting was in Hold and Secure for 25mins.
St. Bernadette Elementary has been equip with an Early Earthquake Warning System (EEWS). This system uses P-waves to detect earthquakes before they happen. The siren signals an approaching earthquake. The moment the sire sounds students duck and cover. The siren will give staff and students anywhere few seconds to a minute of notice before the earthquake will hit. This is all dependent on where the epicenter of the earthquake is located. The further away the earthquake is located, the more notice we receive.
When we conduct an earthquake drill, the EEWS siren will sound so students recognize the siren in the event of a real earthquake.
Our fire safety plan has three major objectives:
• Fire Hazard Control
• Fire Emergency Evacuation Procedures
• Fire Protection System Maintenance
We address these objectives by being in accordance with the Fire Safety Plan and BC Fire Code. Our goal is to minimize the risk to those at St. Bernadette’s by ensuring that in the event of a fire emergency, everyone will be able to safely evacuate the school via the nearest exit. Fire drills also allow us to inspect and test procedures for our fire protection systems.
Our fire safety plan identifies potential fire hazards to be prevented at St. Bernadette’s and it provides an outline of procedures to be followed in the event that an emergency evacuation is ever necessary.
Once again, we would like to thank you for all your support in the many aspects of school safety. We are all very privileged to belong to a wonderful school community and I am looking forward to the rest of the year.
Yours in Christ,
Michael van der Pauw