7.0 Emergency Levels

A Level 1 emergency occurs when it is apparent the issue or event has the potential to seriously affect the organization in a negative way. Information will immediately be shared through normal reporting channels (i.e. reporting the incident immediately to the School Superintendent and the Chief Managing Officer). Reports on actions and outcomes will be forwarded as the situation warrants. Proactive communications tools (news releases, parent letters, etc.) may be prepared – recognizing the situation may escalate to Level 2 status with little or no warning. The System Emergency Response Team is not mobilized in a Level 1 emergency.

(Hypothetical Example: Arrest warrant issued for a student as the result of activities during a school-related event).

A Level 2 emergency occurs when it is clear the issue or event is currently seriously affecting the organization in a negative way. Information will immediately be shared through normal reporting channels (i.e. reporting the incident immediately to the School Superintendent and the Chief Managing Officer). The Director may assemble the System Emergency Response Team (or selected members as deemed necessary) to manage information or bring the situation under control — but involvement of the complete System Emergency Response Team is not mandatory. A single spokesperson will be designated (normally the responsible SO, the Director or the Chief Managing Officer). All appropriate external authorities will be notified and the Director’s designate (normally the Chief Managing Officer or the responsible SO) will attend the scene if necessary. Proactive communications tools (e.g. news releases, parent letters, etc.) may be prepared. The Compassionate Care Response Team will be deployed, if necessary.

(Hypothetical Example: Concurrent evacuations of two secondary schools due to coordinated bomb threats).

A Level 3 emergency occurs only when there is a clear and present emergency within the organization. The declaration of a Level 3 emergency is made by the Director in consultation with the System Emergency Response Team any time (24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year). Such a situation will immediately become a top priority for the Board and will supersede all other activities in importance. Response measures will be carried out as under a Level 2 emergency, except:

  • the entire System Emergency Response Team will assemble at the earliest opportunity;
  • an Emergency Operations Centre will be established at the Catholic Education Centre, 35 Weber St., W., Kitchener, or 480 Dutton Dr., Waterloo, as appropriate.

(Hypothetical Examples: A major natural disaster; a widespread environmental disaster; an outbreak of a deadly infectious disease).

Note: As most situations normally encountered by the Board would fall under Level 1 or Level 2 (and would be handled according to existing Board-wide and school-level policies, protocols and site level emergency plans/lockdown procedures), this System Emergency Response Plan deals primarily with Level 3 emergencies. Should the Catholic Education Centre at 35 Weber St., W., (Kitchener) become unavailable in a Level 3 Emergency, the Board facility at 480 Dutton Drive (Waterloo) will serve as the Emergency Operations Centre.

In deciding what level of the situation is emerging – and in determining the initial appropriate course of action at the Board level — it is important for the System Emergency Response Team (in consultation with staff on the scene) to determine the following:

  • What is the nature of the incident – what has happened or is happening now?
  • What is the physical location and is it accessible?
  • Have there been injuries or is there an imminent or perceived threat to the health and safety of anyone?
  • What action (in detail) has been taken so far to deal with the situation? What actions are immediately planned?
  • Are Regional first responders (police, fire, EMS) involved or aware?
  • Are any other authorities (e.g. health unit, municipal authorities, federal/provincial government ministries or agencies, GRCA, etc.) involved or aware?
  • Who has been notified or is aware of the situation at this point?
  • Are any child custody issues involved and/or is Family & Children’s Services involved in any way?
  • Is there any indication that the media is aware? Is the media now on the scene? Has there been a media request for an official response?
  • Are the requirements of all pertinent legislation being met (e.g. Youth Criminal Justice Act, FOI, Education Act, etc.)?