Crisis drill gets high marks

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Sixty-three teachers and staff completed an anonymous online survey about the crisis drill at Washington Community High School in May, giving it a passing grade.

One of the questions asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of the drill.

Fifteen people rated the drill’s effectiveness as excellent, and 25 said it was above average. The remaining 23 survey takers rated the drill as average.

Dean of students Todd Hellrigel developed the survey as a means of determining the effectiveness of the drill and where improvements could be made.

Hellrigel said he appreciated the respondents honesty and that they took into account it was the first drill of its kind in Washington.

More importantly, 97 percent of the respondents said it improved their understanding of the school crisis plan.

At the Aug. 18 school board meeting, Hellrigel reported that several teachers and staff members said the drill was something that should be done on a yearly basis.

Deputy Police Chief Don Volk said he felt the drill went well despite areas of concern, such as communications.

He said school officials, police and rescue workers anticipated there would be areas of concern and things that would need improvement.

Of these problems, most were created because officials were on a timetable.

In a real crisis, building occupants would not be released until the situation is under control and the all clear is given.

“We were trying to complete the drill in time for students to leave for the day,” Volk said, “so we were rushed.”

The drill was designed as a training tool in the event the school is involved in a hostage or shooting situation.