USD 443 approved a revised version of its Emergency Operations Plan at a regular board meeting on Monday.
According to Crisis Coordinator and Public Information Officer for the district Yvonda Acker, the revision marks a “complete overhaul” of the plan.
The Emergency Operations Plan contains protocol for a number of emergencies, including armed intruders, bomb threats, medical emergencies, chemical spills, fires, earthquakes and tornadoes.
The last time the plan was updated was in 2006. In preparation for the current revision, the district formed an emergency operations team in December. In January, the team worked with the Kansas Center for Safe and Prepared Schools in order to develop a revised plan. The Dodge City Police Department, Ford County Fire & EMS and Area Mental Health (now Compass Behavioral Health) participated in the development.
“The safety and security of our students and staff is extremely important to us so we didn't rush the process,” Acker said. “We took a year to rewrite it and the board took several months to review and make suggestions before approving it.”
The district will continue to review the plan annually and make any changes deemed necessary.
USD 443 follows state regulations as they pertain to drills. Formalized drills for lockdowns and lock-ins are practiced at least once per semester.
“We are entrusted to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and we understand the importance of trying to prepare our staff and students for an emergency,” Acker said. “Not only did the process of rewriting our existing plan help us to update it based on the current climate and situations our nation faces, it also gave us an opportunity to discuss ways we can attempt to mitigate potential emergencies and damage. We felt it was crucial to work cooperatively with area agencies to best accomplish that.”
Changes to the Emergency Operations Plan took effect immediately after board approval. The district is currently in the process of printing new plans and quick reference flip charts for classrooms.