Disaster plan focus of Safe Schools group

Monday, November 6, 2006

More discussion took place at the Putnam County Safe Schools Committee meeting Thursday regarding a proposed mock disaster drill.

With the cooperation of Operation Life, the Greencastle Community School Corp. will conduct the mock disaster drill in April 2007.

Operation Life representative Jenny Lien had approached the committee in October about the possible drill. She also expressed interest in conducting drills at the remaining three county schools in the future.

Lien said the reasoning for the drill was to make sure all emergency personnel were on the same page.

"I think our goal is the emergency response system and how it works together," she said.

Lien said she hoped to find out what agencies wanted to participate and indicated a desire to test response times during the drill.

Greencastle Middle School Principal and GCSC School Safety Specialist Shawn Gobert expressed concern regarding what kind of drill might take place. At the October meeting, the committee and Operation Life officials had not determined what kind of disaster drill would be conducted, although several were suggested, including a mock school shooting incident. However, officials declined to take part in such an event.

"We haven't drilled to this extent," Gobert said. "As long as it doesn't traumatize our kids, we can kind of roll with whatever."

On Thursday, Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin suggested a possible drunk driving accident drill, because the proposed date by Operation Life was near prom time.

"We could put on a demonstration like that for the kids," Sutherlin said.

"I would be on board with that, but it's been done," Lien said, referring to a drunk driving accident drill conducted by North Putnam Community School Corp. in recent years.

Sutherlin said he was aware of the drill NPCSC conducts on an annual basis, but he could not recall GCSC having such a drill during his 16 years with the police department.

He also suggested having Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter speak to students in attendance at the event.

In October, Gobert had suggested April 13 as a target date for the proposed disaster drill, because it was only a half-day for students. However, no date was established for the event.

at Thursday's meeting.

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