Local Agencies Take Necessary Steps to Keep Our Schools Safe

The reality of the safety in schools today is a frightening thing for parents, teachers, and students to think about.  The worry of knowing what to do during a life threatening situation can be even more stressful. 

On Friday, May 2, 2014, The Reynoldsburg Division of Police along with a multitude of other police agencies, fire/EMS agencies, Reynoldsburg School District Staff, and emergency management agencies took the first steps to train and prepare for a catastrophic school attack.  Reynoldsburg’s Summit Road High School Campus hosted the training that began planning back in November 2013 by our School Resource Officer, Officer Nick Keisel.  He recently revamped and rewrote Safety Plans for the entire Reynoldsburg School District, in an effort to keep Reynoldsburg students safe.  His goal was to test the district’s Safety Plan with students, staff, and first responders; a feat that has been attempted in only a very few other schools across the State of Ohio.  
The day started with a very important and informative safety briefing that was presented to police, EMS, and school personnel along with other observers who attended the training event.  The students of Summit Rd High School were also given a safety briefing to help them understand the importance and purpose of the drill. At 12:50 PM the drill began with a call from dispatch concerning a suspicious vehicle at the Summit Rd Campus. At which point agencies responded to the call and students were evacuated from the building.  The response times were staggered to create the effect of first responders coming from different geographical locations. 

In order to create an element of realism, little to no information was given to participating responders on the actual events that would take place during the drill.  The responding personnel would be faced with various stimulations during the drill to force decision making.  When the first responders arrived on scene they encountered an active shooter, a hazardous material venting into the air from a large cylinder, and the sound of an explosion (an actual detonation facilitated by the Franklin County Bomb Squad). After searching the building and detaining the shooter, officers and medical teams had to search, evacuate, and triage the injured students and staff (role players who received artificial wounds via make special effects) inside while not knowing where other dangers could be hiding.
From this training scenario, the multiple agencies were able to learn what areas need improvement and what tactics worked well.  All the agencies can edit and update their Critical Incident Response Manuals and re-focus training efforts based on what the lessons learned from the event. Overall, the training was a very successful way to help prepare the first responding agencies should such a tragic event occur in the future.  The Reynoldsburg Division of Police extends a sincere thank you to all of the agencies who participated and to the Reynoldsburg School District for creating a cooperative environment between students/staff/first responders for an
outstanding training event.  

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