San Mateo County Fire Chiefs

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"The Big Five:" School Emergency Guidelines

The back-to-school season is a good time for administrators to review emergency plans with staff and for parents to review safety rules with their children. This fall, the Big Five is rolling out in schools throughout the county.

The San Mateo County Office of Education has been working in partnership with the San Mateo County Sheriff, the Office of Emergency Services, the San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association, and a community Emergency Response Task Force to create a standardized set of protocols for emergency response in schools.

While the work continues and a more extensive Emergency Management Plan for Schools will be released later this year, these five Immediate Response protocols for school or The Big Five as they are called here are ready for release. The information has been reviewed and endorsed by all San Mateo County's Police Chiefs and Sheriff Commanders. The strength of this work is in the use of common language that means the same thing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, school district to school district, PreK - high school.


  • The Big Five - One Page Overview
  • The Big Five - School Emergency Guidelines - Includes the protocol definitions and expanded descriptions of when to employ each of the five protocols
  • The Big Five - Administrator and Staff Packet - School administrators may contact Nancy Magee if they are interested in additional resources. An administrator packet and a staff packet, both of which include Step-by-Step guidelines, are available.

It is our hope that through our continuing collaboration and effort, San Mateo County can stand as a model of 21st century school emergency response.

Menlo Park Townhouse Fire