Posted Date: 06/20/2019
No district or school wants to imagine the effects of a large-scale disaster in their community. Often, the phrase "it will not happen here" or "it will not happen to us" is thrown around. In reality, regardless of geographical location, all districts in the Rio Grande Valley and Texas are vulnerable to some type of large-scale disaster, whether it is manmade or natural. These threats, disasters, and hazards will ultimately disrupt the school day and send the school district into a state of crisis. It is the responsibility of administrators to ensure staff is trained and the district is adequately prepared to respond to and recover from these incidents
In order to respond and recover effectively, school districts must focus their attention on preparedness. This is why La Joya ISD hosted an Incident Command System Training (ICS 300 & ICS 400)training this summer. Training was provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety with instructor John R. O’Valle, Emergency Management District Coordinator. These training courses are high level, complex and necessary to deal with events and any incident whether it be small, medium or large.
La Joya ISD has an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) outlining actions to be taken in the event of a crisis. It is important to remember an EOP is always a work in progress and is continually updated through drills. There are three types of drills: 1) tabletop drills, 2) functional drills, and 3) full scale drills. These drills serve as a mechanism which schools and districts use to identify areas of the EOP needing updates or changes, and also those areas which are working well. La Joya ISD provides Incident Command System Trainings annually to ensure the EOP is current and functional, and to build relationships with the local municipalities and first responders.
“It is the responsibility of administrators to ensure staff is trained and the district is adequately prepared to respond to and recover from these incidents.” stated Dr. Armando Ocaña, LJISD Safety Director.
“We prevent, prepare, respond and recover from incidents ranging from small to large, because at La Joya ISD, student safety is our number one priority.” stated David Nacianceno, LJISD Police Dept. Emergency MGMT Coordinator.
Community members expect schools to be safe and prepared to protect children in the event of a disaster. This is why our district believes it is imperative to have our staff well trained at each campus.