Spring Street School practices emergency preparedness
Shrewsbury – Spring Street Elementary School Principal Greg Palmer said he couldn't be happier with the staff and students' response to a lockdown drill the school held this month.
The drill, which was held Dec. 12, gave teachers a chance to practice the school's lockdown procedure that would be implemented in the case of an actual emergency.
"It could be possible that there's someone out in town that's a threat to the community or even an intruder that's gotten into the school, so this procedure is designed to secure the building until police arrive," Palmer said.
During a school lockdown, Palmer announces over the school's PA system that a situation has occurred that's made it necessary for the school to go into lockdown. From there, teachers close and lock their doors, put their shades up, turn off the lights and move children to the corner of the room furthest from the door.
From there teachers do a headcount of their children and put one of three colored cards in their classroom door window. A green card means that all children are safe and accounted for, a yellow card means that all of the children in the room are safe, but some students are located elsewhere in the building like at the nurse's office or in the bathroom, and a red card means that there is an immediate threat or injury in their classroom.
Teachers with classrooms next to restrooms are responsible for checking the bathroom during a drill and bringing any children they find into their classroom until the lockdown is over.
While this is going on, administrative staff is locking down all outside doors and common areas like the nurse's office and cafeteria.
The lockdown plan is designed to protect the children from the most extreme situations like an armed gunman inside the school to more likely situations like weather-related emergencies or a dangerous animal in the area.
"The goal is never to have to use our lockdown plan," Palmer said, "but we need to make sure that if something happens, with society the way it is today, we're prepared for it."
Palmer said the school is very careful to explain the need for such a drill to the elementaryage children, saying the lockdown drill is a lot like a fire drill except instead of going outside to keep them safe, the children must stay in.
By holding lockdown drills several times a year, Palmer said, he hopes the children will be as prepared for an internal threat as they are for a fire.
"From 1993 to 2007, there hasn't been a single fire-related death in any school in the country because we practice these fire drills," he said. "We're hoping by having the lockdown drills, we'll have the same measure of success."
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