Terminology Defined: Lock Down, Shelter in Place and more….

South San Francisco, CA   April 28, 2016  School-Safety

When a parent hears their student’s school is on lock down the immediate response is fear and concern for their child’s safety. Some people will interchange or incorrectly use the term lock down when a situation is precautionary only and not directly affecting the school. And some parents have become angry that they received a school alert after the fact.

Our School District; teachers, administrators, and staff all have our children’s safely as their number 1 priority in the event of any emergency. In the event of an emergency their responsibility is first to the students safety, second to inform parents of the situation. Parents and guardians need to remember when emergencies arise not to storm the campus, rather to find a close by location and wait for further instruction so as not to interfere with whatever might be happening. And that might just be one of the toughest things a parent must do; wait. Yet we need to remember this is for the safety of all the students, everyone on campus, and for emergency agencies to resolve a situation. It can take a bit of time for authorities to gather correct information.

This past week we had a shooting at Orange Memorial Park and a wise decision was made to keep students at Los Cerritos and South San Francisco High School in the classrooms with the campus closed, which is called SECURE THE CAMPUS. It is done to keep students out of harm that might be found in the immediate area. We have also learned that Ponderosa followed this example until everyone knew what to expect, as the shooting took place close the time students were to released from school for the day.

South San Francisco Principal Cynthia Rapaido contacted parents and guardians with the following definitions to help them understand the terminology which is explained in the handbook given to students and staff at the beginning of the school year.


1. Drop cover and Hold : Earthquakes


2. Evacuation: Conditions outside are safer than inside. Students and staff are moved from inside to outside to a safe location (football field)


3. Lockdown Barricade: Immediate threat on campus and students and staff are in jeopardy.
*Lock down.
*No one is allowed to enter or exit rooms for any reason until further notice


4. Secure the Campus/ Secure the Building: Potential threat in the surrounding community.


5. Shelter in Place: Staff and students are isolated from outdoor environment (external airborne contaminants or wildlife).
*Close windows and air vents.


The District will be holding an Emergency Test on May 2nd, the following information is on the District website CLICK HERE.


Emergency Alert Test Announcement
Posted on District Website: April 8, 2016

The South San Francisco Unified School District will be conducting a test of our emergency messaging system in May as follows:

May 2, 2016 (5:30pm) All District Community, includes parents and staff

As the safety of our students and staff continues to be our top priority, we will be initiating a new test protocol of our emergency messaging system. As part of any immediate action response to an emergency or crisis scenario, we understand the importance of clear and prompt communication with our students, parents, staff, and community. This system test will allow us to continue to improve our ability to utilize phone messages, email blasts, and text messages to deliver important information district-wide.

Since our emergency messaging system is based upon contact information recorded in our student information database, it is important that we have accurate and updated information to ensure that messages can be delivered. Should you wish to add new contact information, or verify existing information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, please contact/visit your local school site office.

Cell phone users who have a number on file with the district/school sites, may receive an SMS text message asking you to “opt in” to continue receiving messages by text. Please be sure to follow the instructions to opt in, as this is an important service utilized by our emergency messaging system.

If you do not receive the test message as scheduled, please contact your local school site to verify the contact information on file.

Our new test protocol will subsequently be conducted at least annually to ensure the proper functioning of our system.



If you have any further questions please contact your student’s school or our SSFPD.

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