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School Safety Plan

Trinidad School prepares and practices school safety weekly, and has policy and procedures in place to support student health, wellness, and safety.  These efforts are in coordination with emergency services personnel and informed by Board adopted policy and Federal and State guidelines.  Following we have copies of our table of contents and some online resources.  If you would like to have a redacted copy of our school safety plan please contact our office at (707)677-3631 or dcather@trinidadusd.net


School Safety Plan Team 3

School Safety Plan Signature Page 4

Mission Statement 5

Authority and Responsibility to Develop a Comprehensive Safety Plan 6

Current Safety Data Assessment 8

People and Programs 11

Staff Notification of Dangerous Students 12

Discrimination and Harassment Policies 13

Student Discipline Policy 16

Teacher and Staff Classroom Emergency Procedures 20

Response to Emergency 21

Earthquake Procedures 22

Lockdown/Shelter-in-place Procedures 23

Fire Alarm Evacuation 25

Field Trip Emergency Procedures 26

Emergency Drill Instructions 28

Tsunami Safety Planning 29

Emergency Operations Plan 30

Command Center Procedures 32

Procedures when Students are in Attendance 34

Recovery 39

Child Abuse Reporting Procedures 41

Student with Special Needs 45

Appendix A: Why Drop, Cover and HOld-on is Still the Best Advice 54

Appendix B: School Board Policies per SB 187 56

Appendix C: Emergency Information Form for Students with Special Needs 57

Appendix D: School Emergency Evacuation Planning Checklist 58

Appendix E: Online Resources 59

Appendix A:  Why Drop, Cover and Hold-on is Still the Best Advice:

First a trickle, then a flood and as inevitable as aftershocks after a strong earthquake.  I can’t predict where it will first pop up. This time it was an email from a colleague in my college.  I could tell by the fourth word what was coming next, “I just got this email from a friend who told me that we aren’t supposed to drop, cover and hold on any more.”  Yup – the “triangle of life’ has reared its head once more.

Over a decade ago, a man named Doug Copp argued that the safest thing to do during a strong earthquake is to get next to a large solid object like a cabinet or freezer because small spaces may form here if the building collapses.  On a first reading, it sounds sensible, especially with the images of Haiti fresh in our minds. Building failure, however, is complex and there is no solid evidence that the pockets are any more likely to form next to large objects than at other places in the building.   

California is not Haiti.  We know a lot about what happens to buildings and what causes deaths and injuries in California earthquakes.  Unlike Haiti, it is extremely unusual for buildings to collapse in our state, and getting rarer all the time. We’ve had earthquake-resistant design elements in our building codes for over 75 years.  The January 9 earthquake shook the ground in Ferndale and Eureka about as strongly as the Haiti quake did, and the April 1992 earthquake near Petrolia was more than twice as strong. The North Coast earthquakes damaged buildings, but no one was killed and there were very few major injuries in either temblor. 

In California, the main earthquake hazards are breaking windows, falling lights and ceiling tiles, and objects flying off shelves.  The triangle of life won’t protect you from these hazards – but dropping down and crouching under a desk or table and holding on to a table leg will keep something over your head and shield you from falling debris.  There is no controversy among reputable emergency preparedness, safety, seismology, or earthquake engineering agencies about Drop Cover Hold On (see a list at http://www.earthquakecountry.info/dropcoverholdon/).  These groups – including the American Red Cross, FEMA, the California Emergency Management Agency, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute – have looked carefully at Copp’s ideas to see if there was any merit to them.   This whenever a new idea is proposed. When I was growing up, we were taught to stand in a doorway. Doorways made a lot of sense when many people lived and worked in brick buildings because the door frames are wood and more resilient to shaking.  But there are few unreinforced buildings left in California and the door frames in the wood and reinforced concrete buildings we live, work, and shop in are no stronger than the rest of the building. The doorway also poses hazards. You may be injured by the door slamming back and forth or crushed by other people stampeding to run outside.    So the message has been changed – doorways are out and Drop Cover Hold On is in – based on research about what happens to buildings and their contents during an earthquake. The American Red Cross is in the business of saving lives and reducing injuries. If another approach were demonstrated to be safer, I’m sure they would adopt it.

The “triangle of life” is, however, safer than what many people on the North Coast did during the January 9 earthquake – run outdoors.  In many security videos, including the one from this paper, people rushed out of buildings oblivious to windows breaking and items crashing.  This is the worst thing you can do in a California earthquake. The further you move while the ground is shaking, the more likely you will intersect something flying through the air that could cause you serious harm.  You could also stumble or trip on debris causing further injury. The last California earthquake deaths were during the 2003 magnitude 6.6 San Simeon earthquake when two people were crushed by debris as they rushed outside.  The people who stayed in the building survived.  

Nicole Bowles, age 15 and a sophomore at Fortuna High, describes the right thing to do in recounting what happened in the Food Court at the Bayshore Mall (Letters to the Editor Jan. 13).  “My friend and I immediately remembered what we had been taught since kindergarten, and dove under the table we sat at. As we were sitting under the table, the floor shook, panels and glass began to fall from the ceiling, and people were running about.  Afraid for the chaotic people to get hurt, we shouted for them to get down. We continued to yell for them to get under their tables, and didn't stop until some had listened to us. … People were screaming and running out of the building and dodging falling ceiling panels.  I find it odd that the only two people who knew what to do were the two high school sophomores.”

Bravo Nicole.  You did exactly the right thing.  Not only were you uninjured, what you did helped others as well.  You also give us the key to taking the right action – practice – practice – practice.  Earthquakes elicit the instinctual flight response in people. Repeated drills give us the muscle memory to instill the right thing to do when the earth shakes.  Schools in California are required to practice drop – cover – hold on drills. For the rest of us, participating in the annual Great California ShakeOut is a good way to start.  The ShakeOut will usually be held on October 21 at 10:21am. Register now to participate as an individual or an organization and find links to preparedness tips and instructions http://www.shakeout.org/.  

The next time the earth shakes, I intend to do what Nicole did on January 9.  If there is a table or desk nearby, I’ll get under it and hang on. If there’s no table, I’ll crouch down where I am, make myself as small as possible and stay there.  And I’ll continue to vociferously work for the better understanding of earthquake ground motion, building design, and code enforcement so that what happened in Haiti can never happen here.

Lori Dengler

Geology Dept.

Humboldt State University

Appendix B:  School Board Policies per SB 187

BP 4115.100 – Sexual Harassment

AG 5114,230 - Discipline

BP 5114.300 – Suspension by Teacher

BP 5114.350 – Required Classroom Observation by Parent

BP 5114.400 – Suspension by Principal

BP 5114.450 – Suspension/Expulsion of Special Education Students

BP 5114.520 – Board Expulsion

BP 5114.525 - Mandatory Expulsion Requirement

BP 5131.300 - Anti Bullying Policy

BP 5131.125 – Student Rights/Speech, Publications

BP 5131.250 – Required Notifications

BP 5144.125 – Child Abuse Reporting Procedures

BP 5145.700  - Sexual Harassment

BP 6163.400 - Student Use of Technology

Note: See also “Suspension and Expulsion Procedures for School Administrators” published by the Humboldt County Office of Education

Appendix C:  Emergency Information Form for Students with Special Needs



Home Address:

Home Phone:

Known Educational or Medical Diagnoses:

Parent/Guardian Name:

Parent/Guardian Phone:


Home: ___________________________

Parent/Guardian Name:

Parent/Guardian Phone:


Home: ___________________________

Primary Language:


Primary Care Physician:


Fax: ___________________________

Specialty Physician:


Fax: ___________________________



Fax: ___________________________





Procedures to be avoided:

Food Allergies:




Medication Allergies:




*Consent for release of this form to health care providers

Appendix D: School Emergency Evacuation Planning Checklist




Do you have a roster of your students


Do you have a list of students with special needs


Do you have emergency information pages for students with special needs


Have you reviewed the emergency info page for students with special needs


Have you walked the evacuation paths and exits looking for potential obstacles


Have you identified primary and secondary evacuation routes


Have you assessed transportation needs for students with mobility issues


Have you identified communication needs for students with limited english comprehension


Have you encouraged a relationship with students and emergency services personnel/first responders


Have you reviewed the school safety plan


Have you identified the primary and secondary evacuation sites


Have you identified your role in emergency crisis plan


Do you or the office have 72 hours of medication for your students


Have you posted emergency response guidelines in your room


Appendix E: Online Resources

American Red Cross, People with Disabilities http://www.redcross.org/museum/prepare_org/disabilities/disabilities.htm

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended http://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm

An Investigation of Best Practices for Evacuating and Sheltering Individuals with Special Needs and Disabilities, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC (Oct 2008) http://www.ncef.org/pubs/evacuating_special_needs.pdf

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable People in Times of Disaster (May 2000) http://www.oes.ca.gov/Operational/OESHome.nsf/PDF/Vulnerable%20Populations /$file/Vulnerable%20Populations.PDF

Center for Disability Issues in Health Profession, Evacuation Preparedness Guide http://www.cdihp.org/evacuation/toc.html

Disability Preparedness Resource Center, Personal Preparedness Planning http://www.disabilitypreparedness.gov/ppp/index.htm

Federal Emergency Management Agency, Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Special Needs http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/pfd_all.pdf

Federal Register, Executive Order 13347, Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness, Volume 69, No. 142 (July 26, 2004) http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nims/nims_executive_order_13347.pdf

National Association of School Psychologists, Coping with Crisis – Helping Children with Special Needs http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/specpop_general.aspx

National Fire Protection Association, Personal Emergency Evacuation Planning Tool for School Students with Disabilities http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//PDF/Fact%20sheets/EvacStudentDisabilities.pdf

Nobody Left Behind, Report on Exemplary and Best Practices in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response For People with Disabilities (March 2007) http://www.nobodyleftbehind2.org/findings/pdfs/bestpractices_3-21-072.pdf

Talking to Children with Special Needs About Tragedy http://specialchildren.about.com/od/inthecommunity/a/tragedy.htm Model Emergency Annex for Students with Special Needs 35

U.S. Department of Education, Administration for Children and Families, Coping With Disaster: Suggestions for Helping Children with Cognitive Disabilities http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/add/Sept11/addcoping.html

U.S. Department of Education, ERCM Express, Integrating Students with Special Needs and Disabilities into Emergency Response and Crisis Management Planning (Volume 2, Issue 1, 2006) http://rems.ed.gov/docs/Disability_NewsletterV2I1.pdf

Adopted by School Site Council April 9, 2019