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Emergency Drills Policy

At Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS) we encourage our families to educate themselves on fire, earthquake and lock down procedures. 

Earthquake Safety

  • When an earthquake occurs, your first warning may be a swaying sensation if you’re in a building, a sudden noise or roar. Next, vibration, quickly followed by rolling up, down, sideways, or rotating. It may last a few seconds or could go on for a few minutes. Be prepared for aftershocks as well.
  • We can’t prevent an earthquake, but we can:
    • Be prepared to minimized injury
    • Be prepared to minimize damage to your home
    • Be prepared to survive afterwards for at least 72 hours without help
  • Your family should prepare and practice what to do during and after an earthquake.
    • Plan your needs
    • Delegate tasks
    • Write down and exercise your plan
    • If you have no family, make your individual plan and include your neighbours and friends
  • Know the safe and dangerous places in your home. Practice taking cover.
    • Safe: under heavy tables or desks, inside hallways, corners of rooms or archways
    • Dangerous: near windows or mirrors, under any objects that can fall, the kitchen – where the stove, refrigerator or contents of cupboards may move violently, doorways – because the shaking may slam the door on you.
  • Train members of your family to use fire extinguishers in case a fire starts during the earthquake.
  • Sign up for a first-aid course, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Check to make sure you have earthquake insurance.


There are many great resources online on how your family can prepare for an emergency. Here are just a few useful sites related to making an emergency plan: 

ShakeOut BC Resources
Video: Making a Family Emergency Plan
BC Hydro 72 Hour Emergency Kit Tips
BC Government Prepare Your Home Tips 

Home Fire Safety

Equipping your home with fire safety equipment is your first line of defense if a fire should occur in your home. Fire equipment includes equipment to both warn you in the event of a fire and helps you extinguish a fire. These include the following:

  1. Smoke alarms
  2. Fire extinguishers
  3. Carbon monoxide alarm
  4. Home fire sprinklers

Fire can spread rapidly in your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape. Therefore, planning and practicing your family escape plan can save lives.

  1. Draw a home escape plan and discuss it with everyone in your home.
  2. Twice a year, practice the plan during the nighttime and daytime with everyone in your home.
  3. Know at least two ways out of every room and make sure that all doors and windows leading outside open easily.

Home education often takes place outside of the home. When attending a learning event, it is important to be prepared as a family for the unlikely event of a fire. Communicate with your family to determine an emergency meeting spot located near the venue.

Students should not only know where this agreed emergency spot is, but should also be familiar with the route to the spot. In addition, at each field trip location it is important to point out the exit routes to the students. 


There are many great resources online on how your family can prepare for an emergency. Here are just a few:

Canadian Red Cross: Planning for and dealing with house fires
National Fire Protection Association
Resources for kids: Sparky the Fire Dog
Office of the Fire Commissioner Links

Lockdown Procedures/ Drills

Student and teacher preparedness in case of an emergency. Reminder to:

  1. Front load information to all involved prior to a drill to help prepare and keep everyone calm.
  2. Restrict all student cell phone use to keep communication lines clear between you, teachers, admin/ directors as
    necessary. Important for students to not to utilize their cell phones for calls or for text messaging, and to put their personal phones to “silent mode” during a lockdown drill or situation.

Drill Type and Frequency:

  • Fire Drill: minimum of 6 times per year (three times per term)
  • Earthquake Drill: minimum of three times per year
  • Safe and Secure: once per year
  • Lockdown: twice per year

 Hold and Secure (Code Yellow) Drills

  1. Announce “This is a Code Yellow Lockdown” and repeat 3 times.
  2. All students stay or go into their classroom.
  3. Regular classroom activity continues.
  4. Coordinator ensures all exterior doors are locked.
  5. Supervision at all entrances may be heightened.
  6. Classroom teachers close windows and blinds, lock the door, take and submit attendance, also recording any additional persons in the room.
  7. Students can do quiet seatwork, ensuring that all announcements can be heard. Do not open doors (no bathroom/water fountain breaks).
  8. Students are escorted to parent for pickup at days’ end if area threat still present.
  9. Announce ‘Code Green - all clear” three times when threat has been resolved.

Full Lock Down

Full lockdown is signified by five short bells in succession. Teachers must immediately:

  1. Assemble students into classrooms
  2. Close and lock doors and windows and turn off lights
  3. Have students sit silently out of sight lines
  4. Take attendance. Call the office to report all present or in the case of a missing child.
  5. Wait for further instructions or information by intercom.
  6. Do not exit classrooms or make washrooms trips until directed to by principal or acting principal.