Developing a Culture of Emergency Preparedness

November 6, 2016 - 3 minutes read

Students and staff of the West Vancouver School District work and learn in one of Canada’s safest communities, supported and protected by outstanding emergency response professionals.  We are all aware, however, of the potential risks to safety at school, and share with the first responders the responsibility of planning and preparing for any emergency. (WV Superintendent Chris Kennedy)

It is with this in mind that all WV schools follow consistent and district wide procedures in the event of an Emergency.

Emergencies and disasters can occur at any time without warning. The more we prepare for them, the better we will be able to act, minimizing panic and confusion when an emergency occurs.

The purpose of WVS standardized Emergency/Action Plan is to provide administrators and staff with generic district-wide plans and responses similar to the surrounding community and within each WVS facility. The plans are reviewed each September and reinforced throughout the school year so as to ensure a coordinated and organized response in the event of an emergency.

Emergency procedures are available for many situations but those most frequently practiced by students at school include Fire Drills, Earthquake Drills, Student Releases, and LockDown Drills.

We practice at least one emergency procedure each month in WV elementary schools. Most recently, Ridgeview students and families participated in an Earthquake and Student Emergency Release Drill.

Even in the most severe earthquakes, buildings in North America rarely collapse completely. Earthquakes happen with no warning; therefore, life-protecting actions must be taken at the first indication of ground shaking.

There will be no time to think what to do; therefore, of all earthquake preparedness measures, earthquake drills are the most important. At the first indication of the ground shaking, or at the sound of the earthquake audio (drills) teachers and students follow these drill procedures:

  1. Teacher issues in loud voice: “Drop, Cover, Hold On”.
  2. Drop under a sturdy desk or table.
  3. Cover your head, neck and face.
  4. Hold onto legs of furniture and if furniture moves, move with it.
  5. Count to 60 or sing “A, B, C’s”; when the shaking stops, Teacher comes out first and looks around to see if all is safe.
  6. If safe, teacher announces to students to come out.
  7. If not safe, teacher tells students to stay put.
  8. Teachers and students wait for instructions from Admin if classrooms will be evacuated to the assembly area or shelter in place.

Emergency drills and rehearsals support the development of a culture of emergency preparedness in our schools. In the event of an emergency, Ridgeview staff will ensure that students are cared for until such time as they can be safety reunited with their parents.

Thank you parents for reinforcing the importance of emergency procedures at Ridgeview. To learn more about Emergency Procedures visit the North Shore Emergency Management website.