Columbia County School System holds emergency response training

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Uvalde school shooting reminded parents of the dangers our kids could face in school.

We checked in with Columbia County schools during their emergency response training Wednesday.

Wednesday’s drill was all about getting ready for the unexpected. An emergency drill with the goal to get as many agencies as possible on the same page, whether it’s an active shooter fire or something no one saw coming.

With this upcoming school year, safety is at the front of every parent’s mind. Jackson wants parents to know it’s a priority for them too.

“We know it’s our goal not only to teach them and love them but also to keep them safe,” said Associate Superintendent Penny Jackson.

They practiced as if there was a gas leak, but if an active shooting event were to happen, they not only have a plan, they practice that plan regularly.

“Also knowing that if we have danger come our way at our school, there’s not a single safety officer that’s not willing to go straight to that target and protect our staff and our kids,” she said.

One safety officer will be at every school, with two at every high school. In the event of an emergency, about a dozen agencies would be involved, and that kind of coordination takes practice to run smoothly.

EMA Director for Columbia County Shawn Granato said: “You have to make sure that when we’re evacuating, that you let the sheriff’s office know, that you let the fire rescue know that’s not just one single group taking care of that.”

After Wednesday’s emergency drill, and every drill, they meet back to talk over what went well and what can be improved.

“All the other agencies will do that individually, and as we build this puzzle, we’ll do one of these again or other little simulations that everyone can be working together again,” he said.

Teachers in Columbia County start Thursday, open houses starting next Tuesday. The county will be taking what they learned Wednesday and applying it for the year ahead.

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