|10/11/2013 3:42:00 PM|
District staff works
to make schools safer
|School secretary Fabiola Lara shows off her ID badge, which all staff, parents and visitors are now asked to wear, to more easily identify those who may not belong on school grounds.|
With numerous local and national tragedies last year, Lake Chelan School District staff decided it was time to come up with additional measures to increase safety at local schools.
Morgen Owings Elementary School counselor Katie Abrahamson said after local, family tragedies, a soft lock down being issued at the local school and the Newtown Conn. shooting all occurring in the same time frame, many became increasingly aware of the need for a concrete, safety plan at the local schools. From there, a safety committee was formed last year.
From the time of its inception the safety committee has set goals to improve the structure of the schools, starting with the playground at MOE. District staff built a retaining wall around the structure, to help minimize injuries sustained on the playground.
Also part of improving school structure safety was remodeling the front entryway of MOE, to increase visibility and more easily identify visitors to the school. Also new, is identification badges that each district staff wears. Parents and volunteers are also asked to wear these ID's, in order to identify those who may not belong on school grounds.
The third goal, which the committee is continuously working on this year, is to increase staff training for times of distress.
"We are going to do more fire, lock down and evacuation drills," Abrahamson said.
The state requires at least nine drills to be performed annually, and Abrahamson says the school is looking to meet or exceed that requirement this year.
Additional safety measures the committee hopes to implement soon in all classrooms at MOE, is to provide classes with an emergency backpack, filled with snacks, evacuation routes and other necessary items.
"While we hope to never have to feel the impact and responsibility of a major crisis, our goal is to be informed, prepared and practiced enough that we are capable if an emergency occurred," Abrahamson added.
Chelan schools are also planning to participate in the Washington State Great ShakeOut, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m., which encourages entities statewide to practice earthquake drills, just in case.
The Great Washington ShakeOut is a statewide opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: "Drop, Cover and Hold On."
The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage citizens to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.
Amber Schlenker can be reached at 509-682-2213 or by email
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