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Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

Central looking at school safety

District considering adopting procedure plan for consistency

February 11, 2014

INDEPENDENCE — Drills in case of fire or lockdown are events students practice on a semiregular basis, but each building in the Central School District performs them a little differently.

That is something Central High vice principal Brett Baldwin and Polk County Fire District No. 1 Division Chief of Training Neal Olson are working to streamline with the “I love U Guys” Foundation, a standard response protocol founded by John-Michael Keyes. Program materials are free for schools to use, as long as the board approves it.

“It’s a planning tool,” Baldwin said. “It enhances what you have.”

A few of the key differences between this protocol and ones currently used in the district include common language for describing a situation and a plan to reunite students and parents or caregivers after an emergency.

“It’s for responding to lockout, lockdown, evacuate and shelter,” Baldwin explained to the board Feb. 3.

The reunification part is something the district had no plan for, he said.

“How to get students back with their parents … it reduces the impact to the families if you have a better laid plan,” Baldwin said. “It’s going to ease everyone’s emotional stress.”

Olson said the fire district supports this program because it’s based on the standard response protocols already used by law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire suppression and military. The program is based on using integrated command centers, and is all-encompassing, not just for fire drills, Olson said.

“The number of students that have been injured and died from fire in schools over the last 20 years … is zero,” Olson said. “The number of students who have died while being under fire in schools is more than 200. There’s a flaw in our system.”

The new protocols will take some time to put into place, and will require training staff, teachers, students and parents.

“This is a consistent way of doing things,” Baldwin said.

Once the protocols are in place at the high school, they will be put in place at other district schools.

An emergency drill is scheduled for May 13, during school hours.

For more information: iloveuguys.org.

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