Drills are an important first step in keeping Bethlehem schools, students and staff safe
District staff follow strict, detailed safety protocols during emergency drills. With good training and practice, everyone involved will be better able to react appropriately in the event of an actual emergency. Drills allow administrators, staff and students to mitigate, prepare for and recover from a variety of incidents.
We want our families to have a better understanding of the different drills we practice throughout the year so you can help your student feel prepared and safe.
What most people remember as fire drills are now known as evacuation drills. New York State law requires they be practiced 8 times a year. When an alarm sounds or an announcement is made from the main office, everyone in classrooms and all building areas must evacuate along a designated route. Students remain quiet, there is no cell phone use and attendance is taken at the evacuation location. Students return to class once building leaders give the OK.
A lockdown occurs when there may be an imminent threat INSIDE the school. State law requires lockdown drills to be practiced 4 times a year. All movement within the school is restricted. All students, staff and visitors must report immediately to the nearest classroom, gym or cafeteria. All doors are locked and secured. All cell phones are silenced. Everyone remains silent. Rooms remain locked until unlocked by police.
A lockout secures the outer perimeter of the building. Students who are outdoors are brought inside. All exterior doors are locked and windows are closed and locked. In a lockout, there is no classroom disruption. Anyone wishing to enter or leave the building must first be cleared by a building administrator and/or police.
Mass Evacuation/Relocation Drill
A mass evacuation drill tests protocols necessary to safely relocate students to an off-site location in the event of a real emergency. Students evacuate the school, accompanied by teachers and staff, and together move to an off-site location where they take shelter. Students travel on foot or are transported by bus depending on the distance from the designated offsite shelter area to the school.
Bus Evacuation Drill
Three times a year, all students (whether or not they regularly ride a bus) practice how to exit the bus safely in the event of an emergency.
In some instances, it is safer to remain inside the building, such as during a tornado or other severe weather. Students will be instructed to move to a safe location within the school.
In certain cases, such as in a power outage, an announcement to “hold in place” will be made. Classroom doors are closed. Students in hallways go to nearest classroom. All students and staff remain in place until further notice.
If you have any questions about the drills practiced in the Bethlehem Central School District, please contact your child’s principal.