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The Standard Response Protocol

Student Safety

A critical ingredient in the safe school recipe is the uniform classroom response to an incident at school. Weather events, fires, accidents, intruders and other threats to student safety are scenarios that are planned and trained for by school and district administration and staff. Historically, schools have taken this scenario-based approach to respond to hazards and threats. It's not uncommon to find a stapled sheaf of papers or even a tabbed binder in a teacher's desk that describes a variety of things that might happen and the specific response to each event.

SRP is Action Based

The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is based not on individual scenarios but on the response to any given scenario. Like the Incident Command System (ICS), SRP demands a specific vocabulary but also allows for great flexibility. The premise is simple - there are four specific actions that can be performed during an incident. When communicating these actions, the action is labeled with a "Term of Art" and is then followed by a "Directive." Execution of the action is performed by active participants, including students, staff, teachers and first responders.
  • Lockout is followed by the Directive: "Secure the Perimeter" and is the protocol used to safeguard students and staff within the building.
  • Lockdown is followed by "Locks, Lights, Out of Sight" and is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep students quiet and in place.
  • Evacuate is always followed by a location, and is used to move students and staff from one location to a different location in or out of the building.
  • Shelter is always followed by a type and a method and is the protocol for group and self protection.
These specific actions can act as both a verb and a noun. If the action is Lockdown, it would be announced on public address as "Lockdown! Locks, Lights, Out of Sight." Communication to local Law Enforcement Agency would then be "We are under Lockdown." Each response has specific student and staff action. The Evacuate response is always followed by a location: "Evacuate to the Bus Zone." Responses can also be chained. " Evacuate to Hallway. Shelter for Tornado. Drop, Cover and Hold."

Benefits

The benefits of SRP become quickly apparent. By standardizing the vocabulary, all stakeholders can understand the response and status of the event. For students, this provides continuity of expectations and actions throughout their educational career. For teachers, this becomes a simpler process to train and drill. For first responders, the common vocabulary and protocols establish a greater predictability that persists through the duration of an incident. Parents can easily understand the practices and can reinforce the protocol. Additionally, this protocol enables rapid response determination when an unforeseen event occurs.

The protocol also allows for a more predictable series of actions as an event unfolds. An intruder event may start as a Lockdown, but as the intruder is isolated, first responders would assist as parts of the school go to an "Evacuate to the Gym and Lockdown," and later "Evacuate to the Bus Zone."

Lockout vs. Lockdown

The differentiation between Lockout and Lockdown is a critical element in SRP. A Lockout recovers all students from outside the building, secures the building perimeter and locks all outside doors. This would be implemented when there is a threat or hazard outside of the building. Criminal activity, dangerous events in the community, or even a vicious dog on the playground would be examples of a Lockout response. While the Lockout response encourages greater staff situational awareness, it allows for educational practices to continue with little classroom interruption or distraction.

Lockdown is a classroom-based protocol that requires locking the classroom door, turning off the lights and placing students out of sight of any corridor windows. Student action during Lockdown is to remain quiet. It does not mandate locking outside doors. There are several reasons for not locking perimeter doors during a Lockdown. Risk is increased to students or staff in exposed areas attempting to lock outside doors. Locking outside doors inhibits entry of first responders and increases risk as responders attempt to breach doors.

There may be situations where both Lockdown and Lockout need to be performed, but in this case they are identified individually. "Lockout! Secure the Perimeter. Lockdown! Locks, Lights, out of Sight." would be announced on public address. We are in "Lockdown and Lockout" would be conveyed to emergency services or 911.

Tactical Responses

SRP also acknowledges that some school incidents involve a tactical response from law enforcement, and suggests specific simple actions in that event.

How It Works

ALL ONLINE MATERIALS ARE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE TO DISTRICTS, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES. IF YOU PREFER, PRINTED BOOKS AND DVD'S ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

SRP Training

TRAIN STUDENTS AND STAFF IN 25 MINUTES. POWERPOINT AND PRESENTER'S GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE.

SRP In Print

SRP MATERIALS ARE NOW IN PAPERBACK. DOWNLOAD FOR FREE OR ORDER FROM OUR ESTORE OR AMAZON.
Parent/Student Handout STUDENT PARENT HANDOUT - THIS INTRODUCTION TO SRP GIVES PARENTS AND STUDENTS THE BASICS IN A SINGLE HANDOUT.
Guidance OPERATIONAL GUIDANCE - A GENERAL GUIDE ON IMPLEMENTING AND OPERATING THE STANDARD RESPONSE PROTOCOL. (32 PAGES)
Red Card/Green Card RED CARD/GREEN CARD - A NUMBER OF RED CARD GREEN CARD VARIENTS.
Poster CLASSROOM POSTER. ALSO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH.
Sample Public Address Poster PUBLIC ADDRESS POSTER - A SAMPLE PUBLIC ADDRESS PROTOCOL REMINDER POSTER
Video Poster VIDEO POSTERS FOR HEARING IMPAIRED - SUITABLE FOR CLOSED CIRCUIT BROADCAST.