Lockdown! Lockdown! Lockdown! There it is…the Principal shouting the dreaded message over the intercom that no one wants to hear! But not everyone on a campus can hear these vital announcements. Some Food Service employees do not have the option of hearing anything over the intercom, much less an emergency alert.
Several Cafeteria Managers have voiced this concern to the San Antonio Alliance. The Alliance is working hard to get this issue resolved by taking the concern to Consultation. Some kitchens do not have an intercom installed at all. Other kitchens have one but cannot hear it due to the everyday noise in the kitchen. Food Service employees also have not received training on what to do in a lockdown.
Cheryl Solis, Data Clerk at Rogers MS, described a real scenario at the Consultation meeting. Their campus had a mock “action packed” lockdown drill on an in-service day when there were no students. Administrators, teachers, office staff, custodians, and cafeteria staff were on campus.
Said Ms. Solis: “You need to understand this…we KNEW this drill was going to happen. We even saw them pull up in their SAISD district police cars and gather outside the main door to get organized. All of a sudden, we hear gun shots right outside the main office where we’re working and our hearts start to pump feverishly.
Our hands start to sweat. The three of us in the main office jump up and run to lock the office door. One grabs the top lock, another grabs the bottom lock, and someone turns the key to lock the door. We reacted so quickly that I don’t remember who did what. Precious seconds have gone by and we’re nervously trying not to panic but it’s hard with those shots
ringing in our ears. The emotion I felt was so overwhelming. Thank goodness we worked as a team to get the doors locked and had time to run into the Principal’s office where there’s a better lock!”
“However, our Cafeteria staff was not so lucky. They didn’t hear the notification because they were busy cleaning the kitchen. So they were caught by the gunfire. Not a single one of them made it out ‘alive’.”
The Alliance Team noted that there is so much noise in the kitchen on any given day because of the type of work they do (preparing meals, cleaning up, etc.) And, if they are lucky enough to have a working intercom, do they know what to do? Have they been properly trained on what to do in a lockdown situation? Do they know not to answer the phone in a lockdown?
So what’s the solution?
- Install intercoms with adjustable volume inside the kitchen area
- Train cafeteria staff on what to do in any kind of emergency
- Practice emergencies more often and maybe during serving time so they know what to do
If you have other ideas for a solution, call the Alliance at 225-7174. We all want to work in a safe environment and be prepared for any type of emergency. We want to be able to protect our students and ourselves. Together we can make a difference.