Emergency Response Preparedness

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Safe Schools : Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP)

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has an integrated approach to school safety using four phases:
Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery when reviewing and implementing emergency preparedness programs. Each classroom, school office and other student use areas are equipped with classroom emergency guides outlining general emergency procedures.  Campuses hold regular fire and lockdown drills and have completed tabletop crisis drills with emergency experts.  

Specifically, lockdown drills prepare students and staff members for various emergency situations. Like fire drills, the goal is to make lockdown drills routine exercises which supports a safe, secure learning environment. During a lockdown instruction will stop, windows will be covered and all doors locked, lights will be turned off, students will sit on the floor, away from doors and windows, and a quiet, calm environment will be maintained. A lockdown can be called for a variety of critical situations, from suspicious people to chemical spills. In many cases, events in the neighborhood will cause a campus to lock down, whether a drill or actual emergency-please follow the instructions of the staff members and expect to be secured on campus for the duration of the lockdown.

When the news breaks that an emergency is taking place at a school, every parent’s first reaction is to rush to the campus to pick up his or her child. In fact, a horde of parents arriving at school can increase the risk to students. 

Here are some tips for parents when and emergency occurs on or near a Scottsdale campus:

  •  Refer to the District and/or school website and wait for updates
  •  Keep your phone lines open (cell, office, home) so you can receive information with it comes via the phone notification system
  •  Be reminded that 480-484-6100 can be called during most critical situation, schools will not answer their telephones. Parents can  call the District  Office for information on a campus’ status and basic information during an emergency
  •  Look for updates from the PTO, PTA or APT.
  •  For critical events requiring an evacuation, local media will be asked to help inform parents of the location for parent-child  reunification. 
  •  Become familiar with the district’s emergency operations plans. School staff welcomes your question(s) regarding our emergency  preparations
  •  Ensure that your student’s Emergency Card is up-to-date and contains accurate primary and secondary contact numbers

Each school’s Emergency Response Plan, which all follows the district’s template, has been reviewed by local police and fire department officials, as well as the district’s administration team. Biohazard teams are located at each of the five high schools as mandated by the state.

SUSD and Scottsdale Police Department Work Together to Ensure Traffic Safety for the Start of School

At the start of each school year, SPD’s Traffic Enforcement Section deploys all available resources to enforce traffic laws around the schools. The Traffic Enforcement Units will concentrate on vehicles speeding and passing in school zones as well as parking violations in and around schools. This is done to protect incoming students and their families.

SPD also reminds the public that it is a critical safety issue that vehicles not be parked in designated “no parking” areas, especially in and around schools. These areas are clearly marked by signs or painted curbs. “No parking” areas are there to ensure that drivers can see children who are entering or leaving the school grounds. Leaving your car illegally parked for just a few minutes creates an
unsafe situation that could lead to a child being put in danger by a driver who cannot see them.

“Police officers enforce traffic violations in the interest of public safety,” said SPD’s Traffic Enforcement Sergeant, Jim Dear. Unfortunately, the police department has observed that many of the violators around the schools are parents. “A common reason for unsafe driving or illegal parking around schools is that the parent is running late, so we recommend that parents allow themselves plenty of time to safely drop off or pick up their children.”

“We also encourage that drivers dropping off and picking up students refrain from using cell phones while in transit. The use of cell phones while driving (picking up and dropping off students) is a safety concern,” said Dr. Milissa W. Sackos, executive director of Student and Community Services. “Safety
in and around our schools is foundational for an optimal learning environment,” states Dr. Sackos. “Lastly, our partnership with SPD is imperative to providing a safe environment for all our students” concludes Dr. Sackos.

School zone traffic enforcement is important all year long, but the focus at the beginning of the school year will be significant.


Dr. Milissa W. Sackos
Executive Director of Support Services
Department Fax: 480-484-5106