“When a fire alarm is activated in your building, what is the protocol? Do all the students jump up and run outside or do they wait for an all clear from administrators before being escorted out of the building?” That was the question Lt. Eric Lohr with the LaGrange Police Department (LPD) asked over 45 Troup County School System (TCSS) employees at a recent Safety Table Top Exercise.
The exercise is part of the overall partnership between the school system and local safety enforcement personnel. In attendance were principals and administrators, teachers, custodians, school resource officers, and personnel from:
- The Hogansville Police Department
- The Sheriff’s Department
- The West Point Police Department
- The City of LaGrange Fire Department and EMS
- The City of West Point Fire Department and EMS
John Radcliffe, Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance and Operations agreed that all school and district safety plans must remain up-to-date. “This table top exercise is a continuation of our commitment to safety and ensuring our students and staff are prepared in the event of an emergency. It’s important to work with law officials ahead of time so they have the layout of our facilities and know our procedures. They also help us review and enhance our overall safety plans.”
During the exercise, two simulated non-harmful gun shots rang out in the boardroom and across the administrative services building as a part of the training. Lt. Lohr said, “As law enforcement officers, we regularly hear gunfire, but school employees may not even know what it sounds like. It is great preparation to simulate events as if they are really happening so school system employees can be prepared and not panic if an active event were to occur.”
Lt. Lohr led the discussion and scenario of a potential active event. He encouraged the group to look at their plans, with the help of the safety teams in the room, to make sure they are updated and fit the current needs of teachers and students in the building.
A few days after the table top exercise, Dr. Roy Nichols, Interim Superintendent of TCSS gathered with representatives from the LaGrange Police Department, Hogansville Police Department, Troup County Sheriff’s Office and West Point Police Department to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU is a part of the entities’ agreement to work together for school safety and in the event of an active threat.
Safety talks and exercises have been in place since the summer months where TCSS has invited local law enforcement to aid in increasing safety measures for schools. One of those trainings included ‘Stop the Bleed’. Radcliffe said the open line of communication will continue thanks to the MOU, the TCSS commitment to safety, and the community support of safety in the school system.