Exercise validates school lockdown, evacuation plans
CAMP HUMPHREYS – In an effort to make sure students, staff and faculty know the proper procedures in the event of a school lockdown or evacuation, Humphreys Central Elementary School and Humphreys Middle/High School, with the help of the garrison staff, conducted an exercise here Jan. 30.
The purpose of the evacuation exercise is to train, rehearse and validate the school lockdown and evacuation plans. The exercise involved a lockdown drill, followed by a 100 percent evacuation of students to a safe area, while maintaining positive control and strict accountability.
Department of Defense Education Activity Regulation 4700.1 (ref. d.) directs all DoDEA schools to establish specific notification signals, evacuation routes, holding areas and contingency plans for emergency fire and bomb threat evacuation and establish lockdown procedures in the event of external threats.
The scenario called for the schools to first lockdown and account for all of their students and then, after receiving word from the garrison controllers, move everyone in both schools via bus to a designated location. Once the garrison buses were pulled off their routes and arrived at the schools, the HCES students were evacuated to Zoeckler Fitness Center and the HM/HS students went to MP Hill Fitness Center.
Upon arrival at the fitness centers, school personnel accounted for each of the students and then prepared them for lunch. School cafeteria personnel set up so the elementary school students could eat at the Provider Grill, while the middle school and high school children dined at the Talon Café.
“The school lockdown/evacuation drill was a very important event to test the effectiveness of our safety and security plan and the procedures we have in place,” said Shelly Kennedy, HM/HS principal. “The students and faculty responded well to the event and we did learn a great deal from this exercise.”
Joyce M. Diggs, HCES principal, added “It was a highly successful, well organized event. The teachers, students and garrison staff were supportive and extremely mindful of our student’s safety.” She added that this was the fifth year for this exercise with the elementary school.
“This exercise helped us identify our capabilities on the average day,” said Douglas Fraser, the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Anti-Terrorism Officer. “It also validated our plans on reacting to incidents and evacuating the schools in the event of a manmade or natural disaster.”