School Safety » Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

The Windber Area School District is committed to taking proactive measures to protect the safety of all our students and staff members. We have made preparations to deal effectively with emergency situations that could occur in or around the school while classes are in session. While we hope that a natural disaster or other serious incidents never occur, our goal is to be as prepared as possible for any potential emergency. Our priority at all times is to protect all students and staff from harm.

The Windber Area School District and all school facilities have emergency operation plans. The plans are designed with the assistance of administrative staff members, as well as local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health officials. The plans, which are regularly reviewed and updated, include procedures to respond to a variety of crisis incidents. School district personnel and students practice drills associated with specific emergencies on a regular basis.

The Windber Area School District administrators consult with local, state, and federal health, safety, and emergency personnel to develop and maintain plans for coping with a variety of emergency situations. The District's Safety and Security Core Team is made up of school administrators and staff, and representatives of local and county first responders.  The team meets during the school year to discuss crisis response, management, prevention, and communication. Members of the committee are NIMS certified and attend state and local safety and security training sessions annually.

If you have any questions about your school's safety responses, please contact your school principal.

Call 9-1-1 to report suspicious incidents or behavior or the Safe2Say app

Safety begins with prevention and having a plan in place. State law requires schools to conduct several drills a year, including practice for shelter-in-place, lockdown, and evacuation. Our Safety Coordinator, Frank Tallyen, as well as our administration, trains on a regular basis with local law enforcement, the fire department, and other emergency response agencies.  Every school site has security cameras and a secure single point of entry. Each school in the Windber Area School District has a safety and security plan. These plans are designed with the expertise of administrative staff members, local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health officials.

The plans include procedures to respond to a variety of situations. In general, each plan involves the designation of a crisis management team, development of evacuation, shelter-in-place, lockdown, soft lockdown, and Run-Hide-Fight procedures, preparation of a portable critical response kit (Stop the Bleed Kits) that contains key information and supplies, designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites, provisions for training personnel and updating the plan, checklists for dealing with specific types of incidents and resources for help before, during and after an event. 

In the event of a school delay or closing, parents will receive a phone call from the District’s Emergency Phone Alert System to the primary phone numbers listed with the school. You may also receive a text message and/or email notification as well.   

  • Calls are made no later than 10:00 p.m. and no earlier than 6:00 a.m.
  • Your caller ID will display “Windber Area School District”.
  • If you unsubscribe to any school communications you will no longer receive notifications from the District including important information about delays, cancelations, or emergencies.
  • On the days in which school is canceled due to inclement weather, all athletics and extracurriculars are canceled as well.  


Additional Information Sources for a Delay/Closing/Emergency: 

Mobile Crisis Hotline - Suicide, Mental Health, and Drug and Alcohol - Bedford-Somerset Developmental and Health Services- #1-866-611-6467

  •  The mental health telephone crisis hotline provides free, confidential 24/7 assistance for individuals in need of crisis services or those seeking help for family, friends, or loved ones in need of emergency behavioral health services. Additional Information may be found at:
The services provided by the crisis hotline include:
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Link to Mobile Crisis Services, if necessary
  • Help to facilitate and implement voluntary and involuntary inpatient hospitalization through Mobile Crisis Services.
  • Link to outpatient community behavioral resources and services.
  • Information and Referral


Windber Borough Police - Windber Borough - #814- 467-8383

Childline -Safety and Well-Being of Children - # 1.800.932.0313

Children and Youth Services - Somerset County - Safety and Well-Being of Children - #814- 445-1661

If there is an emergency at your child’s school, please help us by doing the following things:

  • Check the WASD homepage, the WASD Facebook page, and/or our Twitter feed. We will provide credible, accurate, and useful information to the public as soon as possible. Expect to see our posts updated as necessary. We will also provide updates to local media, but be aware that emergency situations can change rapidly. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or WASD Central Administration office may be inaccurate.

    In addition, we will use our phone and text notification system to contact parents and guardians with updates and information in as timely a manner as possible. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child's school. To update your contact information, please contact your child(ren)'s school. 

  • Do not call or go to the school. In an emergency, the onsite staff is focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up at the site can create unnecessary traffic, prevent emergency vehicles from responding quickly, and may also put you in danger.  Regarding the phones, we understand and respect your concern, but it is essential that the telephone system be available for emergency communications.

    If you get a call or text from your student, help him or her remain calm. Remind your student that the school staff knows what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.


  • In the event of an emergency evacuation, each building has been assigned a reunification site depending on the situation. Parents will be informed of the site in a communication from the District.


  • Familiarize yourself with the terms used during emergency situations:

    • Soft Lockdown: Used to secure the building from a potential threat outside the building, such as when an unauthorized person is loitering on school grounds or when there is criminal activity in the neighborhood. Exterior doors are locked, but normal activities continue inside the building.
    • Hard Lockdown: Used when there is an imminent threat directly outside of a school.  Normal activity does not continue.  Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, and blinds are closed.  Everyone is directed to move away from windows and into a safe place.  WASD will remain in a hard lockdown until advised by police that the imminent threat (outside of our school) is contained.  Note:  WASD will not open any exterior door for anyone other than local first responders while in a hard lockdown.  
    • Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
    • Shelter-in-place: Used during severe weather or other environmental threats (e.g., air contamination due to a local fire) to keep people safe while remaining indoors.
    • Hold and Secure:  A response to an incident requiring staff and students to remain secure in their classrooms/offices so that the incident can be resolved by school personnel.

When an active shooter incident occurs, the response recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, OSHA, and the Department of Labor, is to RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. This philosophy of surviving an active shooter incident offers options for students and staff when dealing with this violent crisis.  

The Windber Area School District implemented the RUN HIDE FIGHT training program with staff and students in 2020. Age-appropriate training for all District students is based on this philosophy. Drills are conducted annually during the school year to ensure everyone knows what to do before, during, and after this threat.

The list of resources below is intended to be a starting point for parents/guardians who are interested in talking with their children about safe and responsible behaviors online. If you have any suggestions for additional resources, please contact Mr. Frank Tallyen, WASD Director of Technology. Thank you!


Child exploitation can take many forms and affect young people of any background, demographic, or geographic location. Victimization can occur directly on school grounds, online, or on social media platforms, and victimized students may suffer physical, mental, and emotional trauma. offers a variety of resources, programs, and guides that school communities can use to help prevent, identify, and respond to child exploitation.  Click here to view the various resources available. 

How does the district handle threats of violence?

School staff follows practiced procedures to ensure that students and the public are safe and secure. The principal and his/her team first contact emergency services and then district administrators who initiate a building crisis team to gather information on the type and degree of threat.

WASD office staff have been trained to react to all threats of violence in a prescribed manner, based on consultation with law enforcement. All threats are treated as real, and we report them to local, regional, and national law enforcement as appropriate for investigation and prosecution.

If a threat is deemed credible, students and staff will evacuate the building and go to a pre-determined safe location. Families will be notified via our notification system as soon as students have reached the safe location. Evacuation does not necessarily mean that school is over for the day.  WASD can arrange for buses to keep students safe and warm in the event of poor weather. Notification regarding school being released for the day will ONLY come from the WASD central office and will include the reason for the release and pickup instructions.

When are parents notified about a school emergency?

When a critical incident impacts a school community, we notify parents as soon as possible via our emergency notification system. Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child’s school. Also check the WASD homepage, the WASD Facebook page, or our Twitter feed for updates.

Typically, emergency situations are fluid and multiple agencies are involved, so communication is coordinated through the “lead agency,” which may cause a delay in notification. We will provide as much credible, accurate, and timely information as possible. Information received from sources other than the school administrator or WASD communications office may be inaccurate.

 Are there times when families aren’t notified about an emergency?

Buildings are sometimes placed in soft lockdown for a brief amount of time, when a school is, for example, notified by law enforcement that a search or arrest warrant is being served nearby. During a soft lockdown, students are brought in from outdoors, but other activities within the school continue as normal. Most modified lockdowns are for very short periods and often students are unaware that one is occurring. If a soft lockdown causes a major disruption in the normal school day, WASD will generally notify families via our emergency notification system.

 What do I do if I see or hear of a threat after school hours?

All WASD staff and members of the community are encouraged to report anything they see, hear, or are made aware of if it may impact a school or school program. If you see or hear something, say something: call 911 or the District's Safety Coordinator, Mr. Frank Tallyen, at (814)467-4567.

If required, WASD will determine the course of action and next steps in order to maintain a safe and secure school environment.

 What is WASD doing to increase the safety of its schools?

Following recommendations from the comprehensive safety-security study done in 2021, we initiated additional security measures for 2020 year and beyond.  These additional measures include the following:  

  • Increased the number of School Resource Officers at both District buildings (elementary and secondary)
  • Initiated an anonymous tip-text line for all students in crisis or with tips of impending danger through the Safe2Say Something platform. 
  • Updated the District's emergency and response plans.  
  • Increased training and professional development opportunities for staff, including active shooter training.
  • Increased emphasis and follow-up on lockdown, bus evacuation, fire drills, and shelter-in-place drills.