The SHELL emergency response system is used by schools throughout New York State in order to provide administrators, teachers, students, parents, law enforcement officials and community residents with a common language to understand what is happening and how to respond.

S – Shelter in Place: No imminent concern. Students and staff are required to remain indoors because it is safer inside the building or a room than outside. Typically used during severe weather.

H – Hold in Place: No imminent concern. Movement of students and staff is temporarily limited during an internal incident, such as a medical emergency or a maintenance issue, to keep them from the affected area.

E – Evacuation: Students and staff are required to leave the building because it is safer outside than inside, such as during a fire or hazardous material spill.

L – Lockout: The school building is secured due to an imminent concern outside the school building, such as a wild animal in the school vicinity. During a lockout, inside the school has been deemed the safest place for students and staff and no one will be permitted to enter or exit the building until this designation is lifted. Parents and community members are reminded not to come to school or wait outdoors at school for their own safety. Typically, regular indoor activities may continue, but outdoor activities do not occur. Communication updates will be made as the situation allows.

L – Lockdown: Most serious status, imminent danger. Students and staff take cover, remain silent and out of view. This occurs when an incident poses an immediate threat of violence in or around the school. School personnel will alert law enforcement but will likely not be able to issue any other communication to the community until the threat has passed in order to maintain everyone’s safety. 

Download a printable poster of Standard Response Protocol guidelines.