New school emergency response plan

KUSA - When school districts overlap into several cities it can lead to confusion over who would respond in case of an emergency. The Cherry Creek School District is one example, with eight agencies all needing to work together as one.

Scott Siegfried, Associate Superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District, says what happened at Arapahoe High School in December caused his district to fine tune their emergency response efforts.

"It is called our 'standard response protocol.' In 108-square miles, we have five police jurisdictions and three fire jurisdictions that serve all of our students. Up until recently, depending on where the school was, the response might be a little different," Siegfried said.

The district, along with the various agency leaders have agreed on a strategic plan that will allow everyone to be on the same page.

"Regardless of where the school is, regardless of who responds to a crisis at a school, we're talking the same language, doing the same thing, because that helps save lives," Siegfried said.

The district says the proper response to various emergency situations will include terms like lockdown, a secure perimeter, shelter in place and an evacuation.

"It allows to speak the same terminology instead of one saying 'lockdown' and the other saying 'lockout,'" Siegfried said.

After all, the district says even the slightest bit of confusion leads to time lost on trying to track down a potential criminal. Now, the hope is that the new plan will protect students and staff just in case the unspeakable happens.

"If something were to happen they're prepared. We are prepared and that saves lives," Siegfried said.

The Cherry Creek School District also has a hotline for students to use. If they know about a possible threat they can call the number to alert school officials and remain anonymous. The hotline number is: 720.554.2273.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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