Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

June 26, 2013

Local schools hold emergency drills

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Cooperation between local agencies and schools went through a couple of dry runs recently, as emergency drills were held Friday at Royalton-Hartland Elementary and Monday at Lockport High School.

The emergency drill at Lockport High School involved the city fire and police departments, Eastern Niagara Hospital and the Lockport City School District. Roy-Hart’s drill included volunteer fire companies from Gasport, Hartland and Terrys Corners, as well as the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Tri-Community Ambulance and Mercy Flight.

The purpose of the drills was to see how the different organizations work together in a crisis. In Lockport, the drill went smoothly, said Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley.

“All in all, it was a positive learning experience,” she said.

Lt. Todd Chenez of the Lockport Police Department said there was a lot of good feedback from Monday’s drill. Following the drill, the organizations met together for a debriefing on the day’s events.

“We’re very pleased with everything,” Chenez said. “It was nice to see all of the agencies work together... Each agency has its own plan, so to put everything together and have it gel as well as it did was great.”

Since the Newtown, Conn. shootings in December, Lockport City Schools has been reviewing all of its security policies and procedures. While reviewing safety plans district officials thought a drill was needed, as it’s been at least five years since the district last did one.

Over in Gasport, Principal Donna VanSlyke said the drill was a simulation of rescuing people within the school. The drill was particularly useful for rescue workers, as the Roy-Hart Elementary building has a unique layout.

The districts and agencies will go over what was learned in the drills and further develop safety procedures. Those involved said the drills were a good use of time.

“We’re better prepared today than we were yesterday,” Chenez said.

“We hope to have the best plan in place and that we’ll never have to use it,” Bradley said.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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