As a parent, feeling confident in the safety of your child or children is extremely important.
The safety & security of every student is of paramount concern at Darren Patterson Christian Academy.
As a school, we work hard to train our staff, faculty, and students with great regularity & consistency to plan, prepare, and practice for a variety of emergency situations.
DPCA has an organized, systematic emergency operations plan in place to reduce risks - to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a crisis situation. The types of crises can vary from an outside incident in the nearby community with the potential to affect the school, to adverse weather conditions, fires, gas leaks, bomb threats, or a dangerous intruder entering school grounds. A wide variety of crisis situations are addressed and practiced for.
While "school safety" is a broad term with various applications, the information on this page is intended to give parents an overview of the emergency prevention practices in place and help parents learn about the general safety strategies that their students are being trained in. For safety reasons, detailed protocols are not disclosed; however, if you would like to learn more about protocols or specific training that staff & faculty receive, please schedule a visit with the school administrator.
Main entry doors remain locked with access regulated through the front office as the singular entry point of the school. All other exterior doors remain locked at all times and are only accessible to staff with keys. Classroom doors are automatically locked when closed.
Fire drills take place every month to practice evacuating the building. Performance on fire drills is tracked and reviewed for improvement by staff & safety officers. At the beginning of each school year, the Chaffee County Fire Department comes and teaches the student body about fire safety.
Lock down & lock out drills are performed yearly. Chaffee County Police officers are on-site during these drills and perform a full scenario, followed by an assembly educating students.
Safety equipment including alarm systems, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, AEDs, etc. are routinely maintained and updated.
Many of our practices follow Standard Response Protocols, as outlined by the "I Love U Guys" Foundation. These protocols were developed in response to the Platte Canyon shooting in Colorado and are being utilized in schools across the nation. Below you will find an overview of protocols that apply to a variety of emergency situations.
STANDARD RESPONSE PROTOCOL (SRP)
A critical ingredient in the safe school recipe is the uniform classroom response to any incident. 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. Click the button below to download a quick overview of the SRP for parents.
The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is based not on individual scenarios but on the response to any given situation. 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, 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 combined: "Evacuate to Hallway; Shelter for Tornado; Drop, Cover and Hold."
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 might transition parts of the school 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.
Area safety departments routinely train at Darren Patterson Christian Academy, so that they are familiar with the layout of the school and knowledgable of staff and students. Chaffee County Fire & Police engage in routine consultations and reviews with Darren Patterson Christian Academy, assessing the effectiveness of reaction times during monthly drills and of the overall staff training process.
STANDARD REUNIFICATION METHOD
Without a plan to reunite students and parents, more than just the mental health demands which accompany a crisis are ignored; the responsibility of the school and district in maintaining the chain of custody for every student can be lost. No school is immune to emergencies; fires, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, power outages, bomb threats, acts of violence... this is just a short list of events that could initiate a release and reunification for a school or district.
A predetermined, practiced reunification method ensures the reunification process will not further complicate what is probably already a chaotic, anxiety-filled scene. In fact, putting an orderly reunification plan into action will help defuse the emotion building at the site.