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FAQs

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does the School District of Philadelphia do during an emergency?
  2. How is emergency information communicated?
  3. What are Universal Emergency Response Procedures?
  4. What is Duck, Cover and Hold?
  5. What is an Evacuation?
  6. What is the difference between a rally point and an evacuation site?
  7. Who determines whether or not a school should be evacuated?
  8. If the school is evacuated, how will I be able to locate my child?
  9. What is a Reverse Evacuation?
  10. What is a Lockdown?
  11. What is a Shelter in Place?
  12. What should I do during a school emergency?
  13. What type of identification will I need to enter the school and/or pick up my child?
  1. What does the School District of Philadelphia do during an emergency?

    When an emergency incident or event occurs, administrators determine appropriate actions by:

    1. Identifying the type of emergency
    2. Activating the Incident Notification Procedure
    3. Following Universal Emergency Response Procedures
  2. How is emergency information communicated?

    In an Emergency/Crisis, administrators notify:

    1. Philadelphia Police Department (911
    2. School Police Dispatch (215-400-6000)
    3. Parents and/or Legal Guardians (Contacts on the Emergency Contact Card/EH-4)
  3. What are Universal Emergency Response Procedures?

    Emergencies can range from severe weather to threats of harm.  Universal Emergency Response Procedures are standard, clear directives that may be implemented across a variety of incidents/events.  The five (5) standardized procedures used to respond to various incidents/events are Duck, Cover and Hold, Evacuation, Reverse Evacuation, Lockdown, Severe Weather Safe Area, and Shelter in Place.

  4. What is Duck, Cover and Hold?

    Duck, Cover and Hold is used when there is an earthquake or other imminent danger to the building or immediate surroundings.  When the Duck, Cover and Hold announcement is made, students and staff will immediately DROP to the floor, GET under the desk/table and remain facing away from windows, COVER your head with arms and hands, and wait for further instructions.

  5. What is an Evacuation?

    An evacuation of a building is necessary when there is a fire; explosion; gas leak; and/or other internal, life-threatening emergency that requires that the occupants immediately leave the building.  During an evacuation, students and staff will evacuate to the pre-determined rally point or evacuation site.

  6. What is the difference between a rally point and an evacuation site?

    The “rally point” is a pre-determined location where staff and students immediately gather and reunite.  The “evacuation site” is a pre-determined location where schools can continue their instructional programs.

  7. Who determines whether or not a school should be evacuated?

    In the event of an emergency at or near the school, the school administrator has the discretion to evacuate however; in some cases the administrator will follow the direction of law enforcement and/or emergency response agencies in determining whether or not to evacuate the facility.

  8. If the school is evacuated, how will I be able to locate my child?

    The District has a Parent/Guardian/Child Reunification procedure for helping parents to reunite with their child during a school emergency. Parents will be directed to a specific location where School District or Public Safety Officials, the school’s staff will initiate the orderly release of students to parents and/or guardians.

  9. What is a Reverse Evacuation?

    A reverse evacuation is used when conditions inside the school are safer than conditions outside.  When a reverse evacuation announcement is made, students and staff are moved as quickly as possible back into the school building where student accountability and release procedures begin. 

  10. What is a Lockdown?
    A Lockdown is required when there is an intruder in the building, a hostage
    situation, an armed offender, and/or other life-threatening situations in
    progress that require the occupants of that building to implement lockdown
    procedures. When a lockdown announcement is made, all school entry points are locked and no one is permitted entry into or
    out of the building.
  11. What is a Shelter in Place?

    A shelter-in-place response to an emergency is necessary when a tornado, severe weather; external chemical leak; and/or other external, life-threatening emergency threatens the occupants of a building requiring that they take shelter within the building to better ensure their safety. When a shelter in place announcement is made, students and staff are cleared from the halls immediately and report to the nearest available classroom or designated shelter area, remaining there until it is safe to release students.

  12. What should I do during a school emergency?

    During an emergency, sometimes the safest place for your child is at their school.  When a school emergency occurs, parents are encouraged to NOT report to the school and cooperate with school official and emergency personnel.  Important information and directions will be provided through:

    1. The School District of Philadelphia website -  www.philasd.org
    2. Local television and radio for news alerts.

     NOTE:  EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO CONTACT PARENTS AND/OR GUARDIANS

  13. What type of identification will I need to enter the school and/or pick up my child?

    In the event that a school incident requires the emergency release of students, VALID state issued photo identification (driver’s license, non-drivers license) must be presented to school staff.  Also, a student can only be released to an adult who is documented as an emergency contact. Please remember to update your child’s Emergency Contact Card (EH-4).