Review of Safety and Security Measures


Fairfax County Public Schools continues to refine its crisis response planning and to be vigilant about the safety of its students and employees. Over recent years, the school division has spent considerable time and effort in planning and practicing safety and security measures appropriate for addressing a major critical incident. Among these measures are:

  1. Close coordination and emergency planning with Fairfax County police and fire departments.
  2. Close coordination with Fairfax County Health Department.
  3. Comprehensive divisionwide crisis management plan.
  4. Individual school crisis plans-updated within last 12 months-that include evacuation, lockdown, secure the building, shelter-in-place, and parent reunification plans.
  5. Employee training in crisis management and communication, including shelter-in-place, threat assessment, front office security, and crisis communication. (Tabletop exercises conducted in all schools on rotating basis)
  6. Fairfax County police officers, as school resource officers, present in all secondary, high schools and middle schools.
  7. School door numbering project to aid public safety response.
  8. Strict visitor controls; employee and contractor IDs.
  9. Door access technology to aid in visitor control for all elementary and middle schools.  
  10. FCPS anonymous tip line.
  11. Identification of HAZMAT sites in Fairfax County and revision of school crisis plans to address HAZMAT issues.
  12. Technologies for internal communication.
  13. Interoperable radio communications with public safety agencies.
  14. School based security staffs in all secondary, high and middle schools
  15. Uniformed security patrols at all elementary schools during regular school hours and at all FCPS facilities after hours.
  16. Video surveillance systems at some schools, including several high schools with internal video.
  17. Safety and security audits conducted at all schools each year


Anticipated Response to National Terrorism Advisory System Elevated—Imminent Threat

If the federal government issues a National Terrorism Advisory for an elevated and imminent threat, Fairfax County Public Schools may institute one or more of the following measures-in addition to the security measures already in place:

  1. Provide staff members to Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) (24/7). The EOC directs all emergency operations in the county, under the direction of the county executive. FCPS staff members will participate with other county agencies, including fire and police in crisis management decisions. FCPS staff has already participated in crisis planning and drills at the EOC.
  2. Activate FCPS Incident Command and Support Center (24/7). This command center, under the direction of the Superintendent, will make management decisions regarding schools and school personnel that are not the domain of public safety officials.
  3. Assess threat level to determine status of school openings and closings.
  4. Address critical emergency needs under the direction of public safety officials and in accordance with school crisis plans and the FCPS crisis management plan. A variety of means are available to protect students and staff members, depending on the event, including evacuation, shelter-in-place, or lock-down.
  5. Coordinate parent-child reunification process, if necessary. If children have been evacuated from a school, an appropriate site will be established where children can be reunited with their families. Parents will be notified and will need to present identification when they pick up their child. As it did on 9/11, a parent reunification process might also occur at an individual school.
  6. Continue staff, parent, and community communication. FCPS will use all available means (including its web site, e-mail distribution, hot line, telephone trees, and the media) to communicate quickly and effectively with parents and the community about the health and safety of students and staff members. (See below for details.)
  7. Cancel all outside activities and field trips if schools are open. Cancellations could also include academies, community programs and other events.
  8. Increase building security. A number of actions may be taken, depending on the nature of the critical event. Among possible measures are restricted visitor access with staffed entries, limited parking near buildings, and enhanced exterior security (including lockdown drills). School security forces will be deployed to respond to the incident.

For more information on Fairfax County Public Schools' emergency preparedness, go to the Emergency Preparedness and Support web site. During an emergency, information is posted on Channel 21 (Cox Communications, Reston Comcast and Verizon cable customers only). To receive emergency announcements via e-mail from FCPS, sign up for the Keep in Touch service.


Webpage Curator

Nancy Moy

Last Updated

October 6, 2015