PAPS Manager Thomas Conlon Fields Questions

How would word of an emergency in one building be relayed to the entire school? More than likely a teacher would either call 911, the police department, or us. We do have a broadcast of any police activity and we also have 911 pagers, meaning that our pagers go off and we can see what classroom or whatever building it is [coming from] on campus. We would go from there. …and carry out the appropriate response plans. If there were an emergency off campus, would we be told? I’m in constant communications with the Andover police departments [as in] we talk back and forth…they are able to communicate with us over radios and they would let us know of any situation. The Head of School would be notified as well. What is your first responsibility or action? Notify the Head of School or the incident commander. Notify the police or fire department. It all depends on the situation. We might [sometimes] deal with it internally. How have you prepared the staff and faculty? We’ve had a number of tabletop exercises with which we involve the local police and fire departments and we had outside agencies come in also. We ran [the procedures] and we were able to test, rewrite and add to them. We’re very proactive about it. Could you elaborate on these exercises? During the tabletop exercises, you sit there with a group of people…and the Head of School would get her team together. They would present the scenario of what was happening. From there we would make phone calls to the appropriate people. Throw another layer on top of it…whether it’s fire, police or FBI, we are constantly seeing how to handle the situation. What is your reaction to the recent Virginia Tech shooting? It’s a very tragic situation and we don’t know all the facts there are. We just pray nothing like that will ever happen here. I don’t think it would. Nothing’s 100 percent guaranteed in life…but I feel very confident with the procedures we have in place. We have to be vigilant, really. You have to be constantly alert, looking at protocols. You still have to fall asleep in bed at night and just hope procedures in place would deal with any circumstances that arise. -Katherine Chen