It Can Happen Anywhere
Friday afternoon I got a call from the local police that a guy had escaped from state police custody and he had 50 years of time hanging over his head for parole violations, and he had vowed never to go back to jail. He was in the vicinity of three elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school. We put the schools in a modified lockdown with the exteriors secured. As dismissal time rolled around, the five lower schools let the students go, with one bus getting loaded up at a time and a police officer standing by. The high school just got all the students to their cars or on the buses quickly, with plenty of adult supervision and a couple of police officers on site.
The police were using bloodhounds, helicopters, and about a hundred officers to try and find this guy, but never was it like Boston with people ordered inside and warrantless searches of private homes and businesses. He was found about 12 hours later, holed up in an apartment, less than a half a mile from two schools. This situation worked out pretty well with minimal disruptions, but what if it were a worse or larger problem?
So how can a person prepare for an event like this?
Really just like any other event that might make it difficult to get home. A communications plan and alternate travel routes, along with a 72-hour kit that fits your particular needs.
If your kids are at school and dismissal is delayed, can you get to them, or do you have a nearby trusted friend or family member that is on the "pickup" list and can get them if you can't? Do they have age-appropriate kits with them at school in case no one can get to them?
If your main road is shut down, do you have alternative routes? Perhaps cutting through residential areas, or maybe skirting outside of town and coming back in the back way.
How about communications? Make sure your cell phone is always charged up. Have phone numbers for school, neighbors, and family members. If you have a smart phone, be sure you know the webpages for you local media outlets. You can also download an app that allows you to listen to your local police, fire/rescue, state police, and other emergency radio broadcasts. There are a bunch of them out there, many free, so check them all out to see which ones carry your local frequencies.
Using an "all-hazards" approach, prepare for any eventuality that could reasonably happen in your community. Disaster commonality will ensure that you are pretty well prepared for even those things that you may not have thought of.