1426 N Quincy St
Arlington, VA 22207
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Emergency Preparedness

Guidelines for Responses to Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Incidents

In response to a suspected incident, the following steps/actions are to be initiated immediately:

  • Activate the on-site Crisis Team, and activate the school's emergency crisis plan.
  • Contact public safety operations via 911 to report the incident by providing any and all pertinent information.
  • If students or staff need emergency medical attention, contact public safety operators via 911 and describe the nature of the illness or injuries.
  • Contact the Superintendent and/or Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services as soon as possible with incident details and periodic updates.
  • Bring all students and staff who are involved in outdoor activities into the main building.
  • Initially, keep all students and staff in relocatable classrooms in place until public safety officials and/or the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services advise the best course of action, such as moving inside the main building or evacuating to a safer location.
  • In the event of "Shelter-in-Place" move to interior rooms when possible.
  • Ensure all exterior doors are secured/locked and windows and interior doors closed.
  • To reduce the risk of potential exposure to students, staff, and visitors, administrators must ensure that no one leaves or enters the building unless directed otherwise by public safety officials.
  • Take steps to shut down the HVAC systems.
  • Anticipate further information and instructions from public safety officials.

Principals also are directed to address the following security measures in order to be better prepared for an emergency/crisis. Principals must ensure that:

  • All school-based staff members are familiar with the school's emergency /crisis plan.
  • All on-site Crisis Team members are familiar with and understand their primary and secondary roles and responsibilities.
  • Identified staff knows the locations and the procedures to shut off the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and utilities. These utility cutoff locations must be clearly marked.
  • The special needs of students and staff are being addressed as identified in the school emergency/crisis plan.
  • Student information is up-to-date to include any additional adults who are authorized to pick up students on behalf of parents/guardians. 
  • Any suspicious situation is reported to local law enforcement officials.

During emergency situations, it is important to share accurate and timely information with public safety officials. This sharing of information will facilitate appropriate directions and instructions from public safety officials in responding to the emergency. Administrators must notify the Superintendent of any emergency situation and must furnish continual updates for the duration of the emergency.


  • A chemical incident is defined as the release of toxic industrial chemicals and/or other agents that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.
  • A biological incident is defined as the release of bacteria, viruses, and/or toxins that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.
  • A radiological incident is defined as the release, exposure to, and/or dispersal of radioactive materials that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.

Shelter-in-place means that in certain situations it may be necessary to hold students and staff indoors. This concept is known as shelter-in-place. Shelter-in-place can be used in weather-related emergencies, chemical, biological, or radiological incidents, and other emergencies. The nature and duration of the shelter-in-place will be determined by the emergency situation or at the direction of public safety officials/health officials.

Last Modified on May 23, 2011