PUSD revises emergency action and armed intruder plans
Student and staff safety is a top priority for the school district, according to Aurora Westwood, program coordinator for Plumas County Office of Education. She gave a presentation to the PCOE/Plumas Unified School District board at its Feb. 13 meeting.
In the district’s ongoing pursuit to find ways to improve existing safety measures, trainings were given to all staff. Additionally, PCOE/PUSD is organizing the second annual Safety Summit, to take place Feb. 26 with a variety of stakeholders.
The district has been collaborating with various agencies in its safety trainings and planning, including the sheriff’s department, fire departments, California Highway Patrol and Plumas County Office of Emergency Services.
PCOE/PUSD routinely provides training opportunities for its classified and certificated staff and administration. Westwood said the most recent training was ALICE, or Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate.
As a result of this training, changes in how staff respond to an armed intruder will be implemented.
Prior to ALICE training, the consensus of the safest practice to deal with an armed intruder was to lock all doors, close blinds, turn off lights and instruct students and staff to take quiet cover in concealed areas of the room or under desks.
ALICE training, however, developed in response to numerous school shooting incidents, asserts that this is not the most appropriate or safest practice.
“We must take a more active approach when faced with an armed intruder,” Westwood said. Following are some key components of ALICE combined with district safety measures.
All are authorized to announce, no codes are used. Call 911, stay on the phone until released by operator.
Lock doors and construct a barricade. Silence all mobile devices.
Use technology to provide play-by-play information. Sound dangerous intruder signal (three sets of three bells).
Counter is a last resort. Interrupt the skill set needed to shoot accurately.
Get away from danger.
Westwood emphasized that the steps are not geared to be used in sequence; rather, they are response tools that should be used according to the circumstances of the situation.