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Front Page » January 22, 2013 » Emery County News » Lockdown training at schools
Published 696 days ago

Lockdown training at schools


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

The Emery County Sheriff's Office is participating in a series of lockdowns at area schools. Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk said, "This is something we hope we will never have to use, but we will continue training with our emergency response team, Utah Highway Patrol, Adult Probation and Parole, DWR officers and other organizations. Sgt. Tom Harrison has been going into the school before the lockdown drills to inform the students about what will take place. The more the students know the more cooperative they are on the day of the exercise. It will also help them to react to any situation.

"It is also helpful for the deputies to go into the schools so the students become familiar with them and the sight of deputies in their school doesn't disturb them. It helps the deputies to become familiar with the schools. One of the Castle Dale students told our officers they don't like it when they come to the school," said Sheriff Funk.

Last week a mock drill had an intruder in the building at Castle Dale Elementary. The school immediately went on lockdown with the instructions for the lockdown being announced over the intercom into each of the classrooms. The office personnel then notified the Emery County Sheriff's dispatch that an intruder was in the building and they needed assistance. At this time the emergency response team responded to the school. The team entered the building where they secured the building. Each of the classrooms were locked so the halls, bathrooms and closets, everything was cleared.

After the building had been declared clear, the teachers were instructed to wait for an officer to knock on the door and identify himself, after this had taken place the teachers were to accompany their students and evacuate the building. The students didn't actually evacuate the building due to the cold weather, but the drill was taken to that point.

Capt. Kyle Ekker is a trainer for the emergency response team. In training, he instructs the men that in this type of situation there is no negotiation. If there is a threat identified in the school then eliminate the threat by force or surrender, quickly. Rapid response and deployment is about prioritization. First-responding officers must locate and engage the active shooter. The offender must be located, identified, fixed in place and defeated. The prime objective is to stop the aggressive action and coordinated movement. This may require officers to pass by the wounded to confront the threat. The rescue mission follows with victims located and removed for medical assistance with all possible speed.

The school officials and the sheriff's office personnel sat down together after the exercise to go over any possible problems and ways to improve.

The office is the control center of the school and instructions to the school will be sent forth from the office. It's also important the sheriff's office can have close contact with someone who knows the school.

Sgt. Harrison stressed the point that each situation will be different and sometimes an evacuation might be required and sometimes everyone would remain in the school.

Sheriff Funk said, "We certainly hope we never have to use this training in a real life situation, but in the advent of an emergency situation at any of our schools we will do our best to protect the safety of the children in our communities. We have been invited into the schools to look at areas where vulnerability exists. We are also working on making sure doors are kept locked with only one access point to each school. We are setting up dates to do lockdowns at each of the schools. Things change and new kids and teachers come in and we want to make sure lockdowns are done one time each year at each of the schools. Schools can practice lockdowns without the sheriff's office in attendance also. They have fire drills and the fire department isn't present. So they can go into lockdown and practice how to do that effectively and we encourage them to do that."

The Emery County Sheriff's Office is participating in a series of lockdowns at area schools. Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk said, "This is something we hope we will never have to use, but we will continue training with our emergency response team, Utah Highway Patrol, Adult Probation and Parole, DWR officers and other organizations. Sgt. Tom Harrison has been going into the school before the lockdown drills to inform the students about what will take place. The more the students know the more cooperative they are on the day of the exercise. It will also help them to react to any situation.

"It is also helpful for the deputies to go into the schools so the students become familiar with them and the sight of deputies in their school doesn't disturb them. It helps the deputies to become familiar with the schools. One of the Castle Dale students told our officers they don't like it when they come to the school," said Sheriff Funk.

Last week a mock drill had an intruder in the building at Castle Dale Elementary. The school immediately went on lockdown with the instructions for the lockdown being announced over the intercom into each of the classrooms. The office personnel then notified the Emery County Sheriff's dispatch that an intruder was in the building and they needed assistance. At this time the emergency response team responded to the school. The team entered the building where they secured the building. Each of the classrooms were locked so the halls, bathrooms and closets, everything was cleared.

After the building had been declared clear, the teachers were instructed to wait for an officer to knock on the door and identify himself, after this had taken place the teachers were to accompany their students and evacuate the building. The students didn't actually evacuate the building due to the cold weather, but the drill was taken to that point.

Capt. Kyle Ekker is a trainer for the emergency response team. In training, he instructs the men that in this type of situation there is no negotiation. If there is a threat identified in the school then eliminate the threat by force or surrender, quickly. Rapid response and deployment is about prioritization. First-responding officers must locate and engage the active shooter. The offender must be located, identified, fixed in place and defeated. The prime objective is to stop the aggressive action and coordinated movement. This may require officers to pass by the wounded to confront the threat. The rescue mission follows with victims located and removed for medical assistance with all possible speed.

The school officials and the sheriff's office personnel sat down together after the exercise to go over any possible problems and ways to improve.

The office is the control center of the school and instructions to the school will be sent forth from the office. It's also important the sheriff's office can have close contact with someone who knows the school.

Sgt. Harrison stressed the point that each situation will be different and sometimes an evacuation might be required and sometimes everyone would remain in the school.

Sheriff Funk said, "We certainly hope we never have to use this training in a real life situation, but in the advent of an emergency situation at any of our schools we will do our best to protect the safety of the children in our communities. We have been invited into the schools to look at areas where vulnerability exists. We are also working on making sure doors are kept locked with only one access point to each school. We are setting up dates to do lockdowns at each of the schools. Things change and new kids and teachers come in and we want to make sure lockdowns are done one time each year at each of the schools. Schools can practice lockdowns without the sheriff's office in attendance also. They have fire drills and the fire department isn't present. So they can go into lockdown and practice how to do that effectively and we encourage them to do that."

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