Lakota Participates in County-wide Safety Drill

Lakota Participates in County-wide Safety Drill
Posted on 06/18/2019
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Matt Miller, Chris Passarge & Robb Vogelmann collaborate at county-wide safety drillEleven Butler County school districts, including Lakota Local Schools, participated in a full-scale safety exercise on June 18 at the Ross Local High School and Middle School campus. This is the first time in Butler County history that a safety exercise of this scope has been planned.  

The exercise simulated an active shooter at a Ross school board meeting while numerous activities were occurring throughout the campus, including sporting events, conferences and athletic practices. In the simulation, the Lakota East men’s soccer team and spectators were on site for a regional tournament.  

According to Katharine Clayton, Director of Public School Safety for the Butler County Educational Service Center (BCESC), the exercise was “a complex, coordinated event involving multiple first responders, community partners, county and state agencies, and participating school districts.”  

Lakota administrators from the district and individual schools participated in the simulation. “This was an excellent training exercise for our administrators,” said Chris Passarge, chief operating officer at Lakota. “It allowed us to put our emergency plans to the test.”

Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller also participated in the exercise. “Our safety plans are never done,” he said. “We are always working to improve the procedures we have in place. This training has provided an excellent opportunity for us as a district to test our safety plans in an arena outside of our schools.”

Lakota’s safety and security procedures are created by the district’s safety committee, which is comprised of not only district administrators and school resource officers, but also first responders from West Chester and Liberty townships.  

The purpose of the full-scale safety exercise was to provide a hands-on or physical test to evaluate a school district’s Emergency Operations Plan and the district’s emergency preparedness in handling this type of event. Every district in Ohio is required to conduct at least one annual emergency management test as defined in the Ohio Revised Code. A district can conduct a different type of test within a three-year cycle, including a tabletop, functional, or full-scale exercise. This exercise was designed to meet the requirements of mobilization of personnel and equipment, along with activating an Incident Command Post to coordinate all response functions. In addition to Lakota, participating districts included: Butler Tech, Edgewood, Fairfield, Hamilton, Madison, Middletown, Monroe, New Miami, Ross and Talawanda.

Participating agencies included: the Butler County Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ross Township Police and Fire Departments, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan Township Fire and EMS Department, Colerain Township Fire and EMS Department, UC-West Chester Hospital, and Hamilton County Educational Service Center. The BCESC also invited numerous school resource officers (SROs) from participating school districts to participate and observe.

“Today’s training exercise gave us an opportunity to practice our response to an emergency situation - from administrators on site, to emergency communication, to reunification procedures,” said Miller. “The BCESC did an excellent job in testing all of us this morning.”