Big Valley School Lockdown and Evacuation Drill

Line of students being led by Sheriff's deputy to Memorial Hall

Deputy Scott Withrow leads teachers and students to the Memorial Hall evacuation site.

Big Valley High School, Bieber CA
May 19, 2010

We all used to do regular fire drills when we went to school. Today we do a lot more to keep our students safe. even in Big Valley. You never know, crazies shoot up schools, planes crash, there are explosions and toxic chemical releases. Now Big Valley has a plan in place to respond to these emergencies.

Wednesday at noon, a co-operative effort between the Big Valley School District and Lassen County Sheriff's Office took place. A simulated lockdown exercise followed by a school evacuation was practiced.A lockdown situation is a response to active or possible gunfire such as in several well known school shootings which have  made the headlines in the past years.It can also be a response to pursuit of an armed criminal or similar event.Evacuations may take place in the case of a fire or close by chemical spill or airplane crash. Big Valley Schools now have a plan in place to deal with such situations and this was practiced with student, teacher and law enforcement involved.

2 Sheriff's deputies in uniform satnd in front of school building and discuss plans with school super

School Superintendent Richard Rhodes,

Deputies Randy Sheffler and Scott Withrow discuss the drill.

Schools developed plans and procedures for these possibilities. Teachers and staff were made familiar with the plans. Emergency kits consisting of maps, radios, flashlights, pictures of staff and students etc. were created and placed at each school and the central office.

There is an plastic box with emergency information available at each school and the mainb office.

Superintendant Rhodes shows emergency kit to deputies Sheffler and Withrow.

Deputies Randy Sheffler and Scott Withrow, our North County regulars, and Superintendent Richard Rhodes started the drill at 12:30 PM. The drill started with lockdown practice.

The classrooms were notified of the drill and teachers locked classroom doors, both from the inside and outside, pulled blinds over all windows, turned out the lights and advised all the students to remain silent. During this time, deputies walked around the school both checking if the doors were locked and becoming familiar with the school layout.

Deputy checks for locked doors and closed blinds.

Deputy Sheffler checks for locked doors and closed blinds in a school walkaround.

After an 'all clear notice" the next stage of the drill started, the evacuation of the schools. In case of a violent event such as a school shooting, or a disaster, plans call for a school evacuation. Any major event will create confusion and frantic parents, so plans call for everyone to go to one central location. Students will be controlled so everyone can be accounted for and kept isolated if necessary and frantic parents will have a single place to go for information and re-union with their children. The location for this drill was the Memorial Hall but other locations may be chosen depending on circumstances.

A long line of students cross the field to the evacuation center.

Students cross the field to the Memorial Hall

Mother acts out frantic screaming parent!

Rhonda Hunsaker takes the part of the Frantic Parent, yelling and screaming!

(she did well!)

A hall full of evacuated students (having a nice break fro class)