THE 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.
Standard Response Protocol IS ACTION BASED
The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) is based not on individual scenarios but on the response to any given situation. 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 announced and is 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.
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 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.