Emergency code names now in line with national system

By Thomas Geenen Staff Writer

 Beginning this school year, MCPS is making a permanent change to the emergency situation code names.

The former code names, Code Blue and Code Red, will now be referred to as Shelter Alert and Lockdown, respectively.

“The terminology has changed from Code Red to Lockdown and Code Blue has been changed to Shelter Alert,” assistant principal Edward Reed said. “All the procedures for student and staff have not changed.”

Although procedures will remain the same for the most part, the new Shelter Alert has a set of three different emergencies, each of which requires specific protocol. These emergencies are extreme weather, public safety and hazardous material.

According to Reed, the type of Shelter Alert will be immediately specified during the announcement of the situation at hand.

Changing the code names was a direct result of a federal grant received by MCPS; prior to the change, every school in Montgomery County used the terms Code Blue and Code Red.

“MCPS received a federal grant requiring the school system to align their emergency procedures to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) standard,” Reed said.

The NIMS terminology is used nationwide, which makes communication about large-scale emergencies more practical among different school systems.

“We are all using the same terms that are even used by the federal government,” security team leader Terry Bell said. “It basically sets a national standard for all schools in case of security threats, and logically, causes less confusion.”