About > Emergency Information
All Montgomery County public schools have a school emergency crisis plan. A crisis is an unpredictable, unplanned situation that requires an immediate response. Crises may include, but are not isolated to, bomb threats, criminal activity, accidents, fire, hazardous materials incidents, and weather-related incidents.
For well over a decade, Code Blue and Code Red procedures have been used to keep students safe during emergencies that occur on or near school grounds. New federal safety guidelines contained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) have since been adopted by both Maryland and Montgomery County. The new procedures are called Lockdown, Evacuate, and Shelter (LES). These procedures have been developed as a response to an emergency situation at a school and are part of the school emergency preparedness plan.
It is vital that students, staff, and parents/guardians have an understanding of these procedures. Staff and students participate in drills for LES procedures at various times during the academic year. If parents/guardians are in the building during a drill or real emergency, they will be expected to know and follow these procedures. If the school must go under a shelter or lockdown, the reason is not shared with the students, but a phone message and/or email will be sent to parents/guardians via the Connect Ed system.
Lockdown is a term used to describe an emergency at an MCPS facility. Lockdown alerts staff that imminent danger exists inside or outside the building and requires moving to an immediate lockdown mode. It requires that all students are under adult supervision. Students and staff must move quickly to a securable location, remain quiet, and follow staff instructions. Each classroom is locked down, shades pulled, and teaching is stopped. Staff account for all students and then send the principal an email.
Evacuate is a term used to describe an emergency inside the school. It requires all students and staff to evacuate the building using either the fire evacuation alarm or a public announcement directed evacuation by the administration. In the event of an evacuation where the area around the school becomes unsafe, Westbrook’s reunification site is Westland Middle School. See below for information on parent/child reunification.
Shelter is a term used to alert staff that an emergency exists at or near an MCPS facility and may be used in a weather-related emergency. It requires all students to be accounted for and under adult supervision inside the building. Instruction continues but student movement in the building is closely monitored. Exterior doors to the school are locked. Students in the portables are brought into the building in a weather related emergency, such as a tornado warning. Otherwise they are left in their classrooms.
Parent/Child Reunification Schools have plans in place to reunite students with their parents/guardians in the event of an emergency/crisis at a school. This process will ensure the safe and orderly reuniting of students and parents/guardians. Schools will ensure they use a three-step approach.
Step 1. Identify parents using a source of identification.
Step 2. Identify student location in school and sign out student.
Step 3. Unite student and parent/guardian.
Parents will be informed about reunification plans via the Connect Ed system
MCPS utilizes a comprehensive emergency/crisis response plan that incorporates the concepts and structure of the national Incident Command System (ICS) for responding to a school system emergency/crisis situation.
The system-wide plan – MCPS Emergency Response Plan – provides for the various supports necessary to manage any type of emergency that may occur within the school district.
Westbrook has developed a comprehensive emergency/crisis plan that fits our individual needs. We have an on-site emergency team (OSET), including WCC and parent representatives. Our OSET members receive on-going training in emergency preparedness and crisis management to assist administrators when responding to an emergency/crisis situation. The principal has assigned specific duties and responsibilities to all staff and members of OSET. The alignment of emergency response duties under the structure of the ICS allows for a seamless integration between the Montgomery County Government Response Plan and the local school emergency/crisis plan.
Information on school closings may be found quickly via:
- MCPS Cable TV: (quickest way to see announcements!)
- Channel 6 / cable ready
- Channel 60 / converter box
- Channel 34 / digital
- MCPS Web Home Page: www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org
- MCPS Information: 301-279-3673
- MCPS Call Center: 301-309-MCPS (6277)
- SchoolsOut.com on the Internet (sign up for automatic e-mail notification)
- Local radio stations (1500 AM - WTOP; 630 AM - WMAL)
- Local television stations
The following schedules will be followed for emergency conditions:
- Schools will open two (2) hours later than usual (WES doors open at 10:45).
- Students may not arrive at school prior to 10:45 a.m.
- Buses will run their normal routes 2 hours later than usual.
- Field trips are cancelled.
- Schools will close two and one-half (2.5) hours early (WES: 12:55).
- Buses will run their normal routes 2.5 hours earlier than usual.
- Students will eat lunch at school.
- All afternoon and evening activities are cancelled.
- All instructional programs and extracurricular activities in schools are cancelled.
- All community activities are cancelled.
- Private day care providers may stay open if administrative offices are open.
At school we regularly practice fire drills, Lockdown, Evacuate and Shelter Procedures. In addition, we practice a partial-evacuation to Westland Middle School which involves walking two classes halfway to Westland.
MCPS also has implemented a notification and communication system to communicate with all facilities and personnel. In addition, each school has a Nextel telephone for emergency communication with direct connect capabilities and a NOAA weather radio that can receive emergency messages in addition to weather alerts. Each school and facility has a mobile emergency kit (to be located in the principal’s office). This kit contains a cell phone, AM-FM radios, first aid supplies, batteries, and other essential items. All rooms in Westbrook contain an Emergency/Crisis Plan, flashlight and shelter-in-place supplies.
In the event of a suspected chemical, biological, or radiological incident, affected schools will immediately implement their shelter-in-place procedures and all exterior doors will be secured/locked. Shelter-in-place simply means that it will be necessary to immediately secure students and staff indoors. Shelter-in-place also may used in the event of weather-related emergencies. The nature and duration of the shelter-in-place will be determined by the emergency situation or by the public safety officials and/or MCPS officials. MCPS does not envision the need for a long term, multiple day shelter-in-place procedure.
Chain of Communication
In the event of an emergency/crisis Westbrook Main Office will contact PTA Officers, Westbrook Parent OSET Representatives, WCC and Westbrook Listserv. The Principal will use the Connect Ed phone system as the need arises.
Before an Emergency
Please take these steps to improve communication:
- We encourage all parents to join the PTA Listserv
- Parents can also automatically obtain MCPS emergency messages via the internet by registering with the web based service, www.schoolsout.com.
- Provide CLEAR information on the yellow emergency cards kept in the Main Office. Update as necessary.
- Always use the sign in/out sheets for students AND visitors in the office. These sheets provide accurate up-to-the-minute attendance information in an emergency situation.
- It is imperative that parents discuss emergency back-up plans with their children.
- Please talk to your neighbors and friends and relatives and arrange for a secure location for your child for any unforeseen problems or delays in your personal schedule.