Emergency Procedures

Emergency Procedures

Keeping Students Safe in Emergency Situations

The TDSB requires Lockdowns and Fire Drills be reviewed and practiced annually to ensure that students know what to do in the case of a real emergency. While we hope never to have to use these skills, it’s important that we are always prepared to do so if necessary. 

Lockdown Drills: 

Lockdown drills are practised twice a year. Teachers review the procedure and, in an age-appropriate way, discuss the reasons for the practice.  A Lockdown is a response to an emergency situation wherein the evacuation of a school building is neither safe nor advisable and steps are required to isolate students and staff members from danger by having everyone remain inside the building.  Parents cannot collect their children during a Lockdown. The decision to go into or out of a Lockdown is made in consultation with the police.  In all Lockdowns, staff members establish communication with the police by calling 9-1-1,  call Safe and Caring Schools office, the Oakburn Call Centre, alert the appropriate Communications and Public Affairs officer, and provide a crisis report as soon as possible.  

There are two other related procedures:

  1. Hold and Secure: Hold and Secure (formerly “Partial Lockdown”) is a response to a threat  in the general vicinity of a school, but not on or near school property. This could be a police  pursuit, a crime in progress or an active search by local police for a known dangerous  offender. Students, staff and visitors are considered safe inside the school and, unlike a Lockdown situation, regular activities continue indoors. 


  2. Shelter in Place: This is used during hazardous environmental situations, when it is safer to remain inside. It is similar in practice to a Hold and Secure, though usually air intakes may be closed as well. 


In each of these situations, our first priority is always student and staff safety. Information is shared with parents in a variety of ways, either during or following an event. For very serious situations where the school may not be able to communicate because staff is focussed on the immediate safety of students, media outlets and TDSB tools such as its web site and social media applications, are utilized to share information as soon as possible. There is a good chance that school office staff will be unable to answer the phone during a Lockdown. 

Fire Drills:

Our school has a Fire Safety Plan, which is reviewed and approved by Toronto Fire Services. Part of the plan includes regular Fire Drills, which are conducted 6 times a year (generally 3 in the fall and 3 in the spring). 

Evacuation Sites: 

Our school also has a detailed evacuation plan to remove students and staff in a safe and orderly way in the event of a serious incident where everyone must leave the building, such as a gas leak or fire inside the school. This includes a designated evacuation site. Our main evacuation site is Royal York United Church, with Parklawn and Norseman schools as alternatives. 

We are charged with the care of your children during the school day. This is a responsibility we take very seriously and these are just a few of the ways we demonstrate this commitment. We work hard to create and maintain caring, welcoming, and safe learning spaces in which students can thrive. Of course, safety is a shared responsibility. Parents play an important role too by keeping contact information up to date, reporting absences, and dropping off and picking up children according to school policies. You can also enquire about joining the Caring and Safe Schools Committee by contacting the office. Currently, the main focus of our Caring and Safe Schools Committee is traffic safety.