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Emergency Drill Support

Sep 28, 2022

Emergency Drill Support

Stories of school shootings have been prominent and prevalent in 2022’s national news. 95% of schools in the United States practice drills designed to prepare students and teachers for an active shooter emergency. In this reality, we must consider: how are we talking to our young people about and preparing them for emergency drills and the events that have made them necessary?

Just imagining the possibility of an active shooter in the classroom can be anxiety inducing. A trauma-informed approach to emergency drill preparedness is key to helping young people feel safe, prepared and supported during the practice of emergency drills.

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In this video series, Miss Caitlyn takes young people and their educators through a step-by-step, trauma-informed exploration of what to do before, during and after emergency drills. Students and educators will engage in courageous conversations about school shootings, safety and self-care while exploring a variety of emotion regulation tools.

Intended Age Group: Intended Age Group: Pre-K – 6th Grade
*Videos are designed for 2nd-5th grade, resources for Prek-6th grade

This video may be helpful for…
  • Students in school or other institutional settings practicing emergency drills
  • Educators/ School Staff/ Caregivers leading young people through emergency drills
  • Educators wanting to talk about school shootings and school safety with their students
  • Caregivers/Parents wanting to talk about gun violence, school safety and/or emergency preparedness with their child
Questions We Will Explore
  • What is an emergency/ emergency drill/ fire drill/ lockdown drill?
  • What are some things people do to help keep them safe?
  • How does your school work to keep you safe?
  • How does it make you feel when you hear about people with guns hurting other people?
  • Have you ever felt scared, sad or worried during an emergency drill?
Before Watching
  • We encourage adults to watch with their young person(s). That way you can take in and process information together. Adults can also help by pausing the video and assisting their young person in answering and asking questions.
  • Make sure you are ready to dive into this topic. If you, the adult, or your child are actively experiencing heightened emotions (anxiety, fear, anger, etc.) around emergency drills, school shootings or school safety, wait until you are both feeling more relaxed to discuss these topics.
After Watching
  • If after watching this video or engaging with this topic a child becomes more anxious, overwhelmed or scared than you perceive is typical for them, it may be helpful to reach out to a medical or mental health professional. Resources can be located through your school or local healthcare facility.

Before the Drill

In this video, Miss Caitlyn explores safety and the reasons for practicing emergency drills. Viewers will define: emergency, fire drill and lockdown drill and identify their feelings about school shootings and other school emergencies. Ending with a breath, viewers are reminded of the ways that their school works to keep them safe everyday.

During the Drill

In this video, Miss Caitlyn explores what to expect during an emergency drill and offers tools to help cope with big feelings that may come up during those drills. Viewers will explore an array of breath and body regulation techniques, as well as what to do when you don’t know if something is a drill or a real emergency.

After the Drill

In this video, Miss Caitlyn explores what to do after an emergency drill and takes viewers through a series of re-grounding activities and reflection check-ins. Viewers will explore how to mindfully transition back into their school day after unexpected events like emergency drills.

Educator Guide

Our Educator Guide is a tool designed to take students through each step of an emergency drill. The script outlines key trauma-informed steps as well as tips and modifications that can be applied to meet student’s specific needs.

Caregiver Tips and Resources

Our Caregiver Tips and Resources one-sheet translates and summarizes the key elements of emergency drill preparation, emotional regulation, safety and self-care for families to continue the conversation at home.

Fire Drill Visual Story

This visual story gives students a step-by-step description of what occurs during a fire drill.

Lockdown Drill Visual Story

This visual story gives students a step-by-step description of what occurs during a lockdown drill.

The Trauma-Informed Toolkit for Educators

The Trauma-Informed Toolkit for Educators is designed to provide educators with a deeper understanding of trauma and its effects on childhood development, while offering a set of tools to help create supportive, healing centered, trauma-informed environments where students can grow.

Looking to enhance your Trauma-Informed practice and add to your educator toolkit?
Explore NYCCT’s Trauma-Informed Toolkit for Educators!

We are committed to making the Trauma-Informed Toolkit accessible to everyone. For cost assistance, please email

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STC’s Emergency Drill Support was scripted by Caitlyn McCain and Allison Finder, RDT, LCAT, with input from Elizabeth Apollon, 4th Grade Educator.

Co-Produced by Caitlyn McCain and Nicole Hogsett

The Educator Guide was created by Caitlyn McCain with input from expert collaborators Allison Finder and Elizabeth Apollon. Expert Tips were inspired by conversations with educators Alex Delare, Andi Dehne, Kersti Bolton, and Tara Kirton.

STC’s Visual Stories and Caregiver Tips and Resources one-sheet was created by Nicole Hogsett.

Videography by Alexander Cope
Video Edits by Danica Lee Clauser

Webpage by Nicole Hogsett
Website Language by Caitlyn McCain

Special thanks to educators Alex Delare, Andi Dehne, Kersti Bolton, and Tara Kirton.

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