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School Emergencies

What to Expect During a School Emergency

In the event of an emergency in or around Orange County, tune your radio to AM 1640 for the latest updates.  


The first priority for school staff during an emergency is to ensure the safety of students, other staff members and any guests who are on campus at the time. Emergency situations can cause disruptions to regular communication, schedules, and plans. We've provided information on what families can expect during an emergency situation and how to best support the safety of students and staff.  


A planned crisis response by a trained team of staff members can significantly reduce the disruption, confusion, and uncertainty that occurs during an emergency. Schools prepare students and staff for situations by conducting drills each year. Some may be as simple as the traditional fire and evacuation drill while others focus on lockdown situations and intruders on campus. The purpose is never to scare students, or parents, but to give them the skills and knowledge needed to remain safe during an emergency situation.    


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Families' Role in an Emergency

  • Make sure your emergency contact numbers are updated and on file in the office.
  • Stay calm during a school emergency
  • Listen carefully to emergency notification messages. Check the district and/or school website for breaking news updates as phone communication may be interrupted due to excessive calls.
  • Frequently rumors may surface.
  • Rely on factual information from the school district or law enforcement.
  • Recognize that crisis counseling services will be available for children affected by a crisis. 
  • Contact a school administrator or counselor about accessing counseling resources.

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Students' Role in an Emergency

Students should understand and follow all plans applicable to the given crisis. 

  • Remain calm and reassure fellow students.
  • In the absence of adult direction, students can decide where it is safest to be and remain there.
  • If a violent situation occurs, notify the nearest school staff member.
  • Share all relevant information with law enforcement, teachers, and school staff.
  • During and after the crisis, to the extent that is safe, keep your belongings with you but do not go back for anything until receiving clearance.  Do not pick anything up.
  • Don’t phone or text unless you are an eyewitness, have important information to share or have information pertaining to injuries to students or staff. 
  • Do not perpetuate rumors. This includes cell or text messaging. We want parents and students to have accurate information, not rumors.

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Securing a Campus

During an emergency situation, the schools work closely with district administrators, law enforcement, and the fire department to determine the appropriate actions to take for the safety of all involved.  Depending on the circumstances, a school campus may be placed on a lockdown.  During a lockdown, no one will be allowed to enter or leave the campus, including parents.

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Picking Up Students After an Emergency

To ensure students remain safe, schools may implement restricted pick-up procedures after an emergency situation. Please keep in mind that no one except authorized District staff and first responders will be allowed to enter or leave a school campus during certain emergencies.  Also, only those listed on a student's emergency card will be allowed to pick a student up.  

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Is Picking Up a Student Required?

The vast majority of emergency situations are precautionary in nature. In most cases, we will not require students be picked up before their normal dismissal time. If pick-up is mandatory, we will notify families. If there is a safety concern requiring students to leave campus immediately, we will evacuate students on foot or by bus depending on the situation.  Parents will receive information on the evacuation location via phone, email, text, and information will also be posted on the district or school website and on the district's official social media channels

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When Should Parents Go to a Campus?

Parents or family members who go to a campus during an emergency may not be allowed on campus. If you go to a school during a lockdown, you may be stopped and asked to wait in a specified area off campus. 


Families will be notified that the situation has been resolved via text messages, an automated phone message, through postings to the District or school website, and on the district's official social media channels. Once families are allowed on campus, you will be directed to a specific pick-up area. 

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What Should You Bring to the Pickup Area?

Again, restricted pick-up procedures will be in effect after an emergency situation. To help reduce confusion and avoid delays, families should come to the pickup area with:

  • Photo Identification - This requirement applies to all families. If you do not have a photo ID, your student may not be released or it may cause significant delays. 
  • Your Mobile Phone - Emergency situations sometimes require changes to reunification plans. By having your phone with you, you will receive any updates sent via our automated notification system. 
  • Patience - In most situations, there will be a large number of families who choose to pick up their student after an emergency situation. This may result in an extended wait time as we verify ID's and call students to the reunification area. 
  • If you wish to allow a person such as extended family member or a neighbor to pick up your children, please make sure they are listed on your child’s emergency card.  Please also make sure that the person has instructions on where to pick up and what identification they will need to provide to sign your child out. 

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Communicating during an emergency

The first priority of school staff will be to ensure the safety of those on campus during an emergency situation.  We want parents and students to have accurate information, not rumors.  District staff will work with school staff to notify families of the situation as quickly as possible. In an emergency situation, you can expect to receive communications in multiple ways including:

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Mass Notification

The district's mass notification system can quickly call parents, send e-mails, text messages and push notifications to the mobile app.    IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION BE UPDATED FOR YOU TO RECEIVE THESE NOTIFICATIONS.  Typically, you will receive an initial call to let you know that there is an incident. You will then receive updates as information becomes available and a final call to alert you that the situation has been resolved.

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Social Media

Accurate information and updates about emerging situations will be posted on the district’s official Social Media sites:


Facebook      Twitter​​​​​​​


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During extended emergency situations, updates will typically be posted to the district and/or school website.  You should check these pages frequently for the latest information.


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News Media

The District works with news media during emergency situations to help share accurate and helpful information.  OFFICIAL updated information will be posted on the district's social media channels. 

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Phone Calls

During and after an emergency, school phone lines may become overloaded. Please refrain from calling a school during or right after an emergency if at all possible. If it is urgent that you get a message to the school for the safety of your student during an emergency, please contact the District Office at (949) 234-9200.


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