New Pasco crisis plan ready for new school year

Flip charts provide instructions and contacts
Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-12 23:16:58-04

At every Pasco County school in every classroom, along with books and computers, you’ll now find a colored flip chart.

The hope is, it’s never used. But when an emergency comes, teachers should now know exactly what to do.

“When the sheriff’s office or Pasco Fire Rescue has to come and respond to an emergency situation, they know it’s going to be enacted in the same way at each school,” said Bayonet Point Assistant Principal Laura Luter.

The plan, put together by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and school district, covers everything: medical emergency, fires, tornadoes, bomb threat, lock downs and more.

“Something as simple as vetting out a threat,” said Lt. Troy Ferguson.

If one of these emergencies happens, staff members will know right where to go, grabbing the flip chart out of its basket and having step-by-step instructions and emergency numbers easily accessible. It’s also available on their phones.

Officials want to keep most of those procedures private, so the wrong people don’t know how a crisis will be handled.

At River Ridge High School in New Port Richey, Principal Toni Zetzsche is also using a smart phone app to connect her school like never before. Teachers have Remind 101 available, so in a crisis, alerts can be sent out to everyone.

“They’ll get a text message saying hey we’ve got somebody on campus that’s wearing a red shirt with black backpack, or suspicious activity just watch for it, and fire back a text if you see something,” said Zetzsche.

The communication will be a big help to the school resource officer, who can only cover so much ground.

“These campuses sprawl like a college campus. It’s a never-ending effort to make sure our campuses are safe and secure for our students,” said Ferguson.

For Pasco students, the work starts Monday, but staff members have been getting ready all summer for whatever this school year may bring.