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    Seattle Public Schools Emergency Preparedness and Communications
    Posted on 02/28/2018

    Seattle Public Schools Emergency Preparedness and Communications

    Seattle Public Schools prioritizes student safety. It is our goal to prevent emergencies from happening, therefore all lethal or potentially lethal statements, whether verbal or written (including electronic) are to be taken seriously and investigated.

    Because all emergencies, such as natural disasters can't be prevented, we also want to be prepared to respond effectively. All schools in our district, with assistance from district and city emergency responders, develop a comprehensive safety plan for both natural disasters and human caused incidents. Students and staff practice drills so if the unthinkable happens, they know how to respond.

    What to Expect in an Emergency

    If a major critical incident happens at a school, the district will communicate with families about what is happening and next steps as soon as possible.

    There are times when the situation is dynamic and multiple agencies are involved. Because communications are coordinated with these other agencies such as Seattle Police Department, this may cause a delay in notification. If school staff are responding to an urgent situation, frequently the school phones will not be answered because their priority is student safety.

    On occasion, students may be placed in a “shelter in place” or a “lockdown” for an extended period of time and parents will need to be prepared to wait to reunite with their student until the situation is determined to be safe and students can be released. In some events, the district will establish a family reunification site and communicate with families about the location.

    What do I do if I see or hear of a threat?

    We encourage students to report any threat or safety concerns to a trusted adult, including families, staff, 911 or our Safe Schools Hotline at 206-252-0510.

    All district staff and community members are encouraged to report anything and everything they see or hear or are made aware of if it may affect the safety of any student, school or school program. If you see or hear something, say something.

    The reporting can be made by calling 911 or by contacting the SPS Security Department at 206-252-0707.

    Communications to Families

    If an urgent situation or weather conditions occurs, the district will communicate the decision through the following methods:

    SchoolMessenger: the district and schools use SchoolMessenger notification system to send voice recordings, text messages or email to families and staff.

    In order for this system to work best, please keep your contact information up-to-date with your student's school. When there is an emergency school schedule change, the phone number listed as an emergency contact is called. While you need at least one emergency phone on record, you can manage your communication preferences and designate which phone is called. Read more about how you can manage your communications preferences

    Local media: Checking the local television or radio stations is an effective and efficient way to find out if there is a schedule change.

    Local stations include:

    • TV KOMO 4, KING 5, KIRO 7, Q13 FOX
    • Radio KOMO AM 1000, KIRO 97.3 FM

    District and school websites: We post districtwide urgent message on the district and school websites. Our regional emergency communications system is You can read messages or subscribe for FlashAlert notifications on their website,

    Social media: Follow us on and