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Emergency Preparedness

The Sumner School District works in partnership with local law enforcement, public safety and county emergency management to prepare for emergency conditions in our schools. Each school has developed and implemented a comprehensive plan for responding to a variety of natural disasters and hazardous situations including earthquake, lahar, fire, bomb threat, and hazardous materials incidents. Staff and students practice appropriate responses including evacuation and shelter-in-place.

Our system for managing school emergency situations provides students, staff and parents with a plan and a sense of security. Student safety is our focus and guides our decisions. Staff members have been assigned specific tasks they are responsible for during an emergency situation. Exhibiting leadership during a school evacuation or providing first aid are as important as communicating information to parents and organizing student relocation centers. Our facilities are equipped with emergency supplies, radios and equipment that may be necessary to shelter students for two or three days.

Communications Tips in an Emergency
Be patient – we will communicate with you as quickly as possible.
Check the Web site or call the Emergency Hotline (253) 891.6001 for updates.
Please don’t call the school; it jams the phone lines.
Be patient – your child’s safety is our first priority!

How Families Can Help during and Emergency
Take care not to become part of the problem by rushing to the school. More traffic just makes it difficult for emergency response teams.
Keep emergency cards up-to-date with correct phone numbers and names of people authorized to pick up your children.

All adults who are picking up children should remember to always bring photo identification.

Earthquake Response Plan
Students and staff practice “Drop, Cover and Hold” as a response to earthquake.

What Does It Mean?
blue star bullet Drop – under something sturdy and taller than you are
blue star bullet Cover – the back of your head and neck with one arm
blue star bullet Hold on – in case the thing you’re under moves
blue star bullet Close your eyes – protect your eyes

PDF icon Earthquakes in Washington (printable brochure)

For more information about emergency and earthquake preparedness, visit these Web sites:

Emergency Operations Center
In the event of a districtwide emergency, school administrators have designated an Emergency Operations Center to provide support for students and staff at each school. Local law enforcement and emergency management officials will communicate directly with the district to coordinate response plans and maximize resources, ensuring that assistance is available where it is most needed. District communications and release of information to the media will also be directed from the Operations Center.

Emergency Messages
When you subscribe to School Messages, you will also receive up-to-the minute announcements by e-mail regarding student and school status and unscheduled school closures. In the event of an emergency school closure, evacuation information and parent advisories will be posted on the Emergency Operations Status page.

Inclement Weather Procedures
Winter may bring weather conditions that require school schedule delays or closure. Even when road conditions in the valley appear passable, bad weather on the hill often causes hazardous driving conditions and impact the district’s ability to operate buses safely. Safety for your child is our primary concern.

  • Normal school operations will prevail unless a change of schedule is announced.
  • Expect morning buses to be late during severe weather.
  • If buses cannot get up the hills on afternoon routes, students will be returned to their schools.
  • On 2-hour late start schedules breakfast and lunch will be served

Our goal is to make information available to families about school closure or changes in the school schedule by 5 a.m

Keep School Safe
SafeSchools Alert is our district's tip reporting service. If you have information about a threat to our safety, do your part and report it! And remember, you can remain anonymous.

PDF icon Report It! (printable flyer)

Lahar Response Plan
Living near Mt. Rainier has potential hazards that include eruption, lava or ash fall and mudflows known as lahars. Pierce County Emergency Management, the U.S. Geologic Survey team and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have joined together to create a plan for responding to any Mt. Rainier emergency that may occur. The Sumner School District has been an active partner in planning and preparing for the evacuation of all schools located in the valley as might someday be required.

Lockdown and Modified Lockdown
From time to time, local law enforcement agencies alert our schools to potential risks that require the school to implement a precautionary safety protocol known as a lockdown.

In a lockdown, exterior and interior doors are locked. Students are told to stay away from windows and keep low. Curtains or blinds are closed. Lights are off. Only quiet talking is allowed. Students who are outside at recess or in a PE class come back into the building. Signs are posted on doors instructing anyone who tries to get inside the building to leave the school premises immediately. Staff has been trained to take the situation very seriously, with an assumption that an intruder could actually be in the building.

The modified lockdown takes similar precautions but allows more movement within the building. Students may continue to work at their desks with lights on. They may go to the restroom. No one, however, may enter or leave the building—staff, students or parents.

Pandemic Flu
An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide. Part of preparedness is maintaining overall good health and using basic prevention measures such as covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often. In the event of a pandemic flu event the District will comply with instructions issued by the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department.

PC-NET in Action: Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Disasters
Recent windstorms, power failures, and flooding should be wakeup call to all of us that the Pacific Northwest is not immune to disasters. Pierce County Neighborhood Emergency Teams (PC-NET) is an award winning program that helps neighbors develop personal preparedness plans and learn how to respond to immediate needs in their neighborhood following a disaster.

The very nature of disasters overwhelms emergency responders and they will not be able to help individual citizens immediately. Individuals and families need plans to get through at least seven days following a disaster. Using skills most adults already have, PC-NET members form teams to help check on neighbors and perhaps even save lives. They also help by providing professional responders with important information about injuries and damages in their neighborhood.

PC-NET works in partnership with crime prevention programs to make neighborhoods safer. Together they form a network that strengthens the entire community. Training is offered through a series of six meetings over the course of a year to a year and a half, held right in the neighborhood. This program is free for citizens. For more information call 253.798.6595.

School Closures
Unscheduled school closures due to inclement weather, natural disaster, or school emergencies may occasionally occur. Updated information regarding school status, student evacuation and parent pickup points is available on the Web under the Emergency Operations Status page, is emailed to all School Messages subscribers and recorded on our emergency hotline at 253.891.6001. Additional school closure information is available from the Public Schools Emergency Communication System.

Shelter-In-Place Procedures
Shelter-in-Place is a short-term solution to a short-term problem. Staff and students may be directed to respond to hazardous materials incidents, chemical spills or terrorist actions in this manner. More information is available on the Shelter-In-Place page.

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Earthquake Response Plan

dot Frequently Asked Questions

blue circle bullet Inclement Weather Procedures

Lahar Response Plan

Limited Bus Transportation

Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan

Pandemic Flu

bullet Parent/Child Reunion

Pierce County Department of Emergency Management

dot Public Schools Emergency Communication System

Shelter In Place

Sumner School District
Emergency Hotline 253.891.6001


1202 Wood Ave, Sumner WA 98390 | 253.891.6000 | Copyright Info | E-mail Us! | Safe Schools Tip Line