CCSD School Police Chief Buster Cushing speaks with Officer Beth Jeffreys about evacuation procedures during the multi-agency emergency response drill on Thursday at Cherokee High School.
The Cherokee County School District on Thursday conducted a multi-agency emergency response drill to practice school evacuation and reunification plans.
The drill was held during the winter break to avoid disrupting classes, with activity taking place at Cherokee High School in Canton, CCSD’s offices in Canton, and First Baptist Church of Woodstock. Hundreds of law enforcement and public safety officers, volunteer role-players including students and parents, and CCSD employees worked together to act out an emergency scenario at the school, evacuation of the school, and reunification of students and staff with their families at the church.
The event was coordinated by the CCSD School Police Department with Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office; Canton, Woodstock, Holly Springs and Ball Ground Police Departments; Woodstock Fire Department, and the Cherokee Marshal’s Office, 911 Center and Emergency Operations Center. Officers from Cherokee and across the state also participated as drill evaluators.
“No educator wants to imagine an emergency happening at a school, but we must be prepared,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Thursday’s drill showed us the importance of our focus on training and practice and will help us further refine our procedures. I’m very proud of School Police Chief Buster Cushing and Emergency Operations Facilitator Danielle Ross for organizing this successful event, and I’m grateful for the strong support of our community’s law enforcement and public safety agencies.”
Dr. Hightower said he also greatly appreciates all of the volunteers; First Baptist Church of Woodstock for use of its facilities and the support of its staff during the drill; and the Chick-fil-A restaurants of Cherokee County for donating lunches to drill participants.
Cherokee High School Principal Todd Miller meets with law enforcement officers as he practices evacuation procedures during the multi-agency emergency response drill on Thursday at Cherokee High School.
Students, playing the roles of injured Cherokee High School students, wait on a bus for their classmates as they are evacuated from the school during the multi-agency emergency response drill on Thursday.
CCSD employees practice their roles to reunify students and staff from Cherokee High School with their families at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, which was used as the reunification site during the multi-agency emergency response drill on Thursday. Volunteers, playing the roles of parents, show ID that must match up to their child’s records in order to move to the next step of the process.
Volunteer Einar Rivera, playing the role of a parent, is reunited with his children, played by Miguel Avalos of Marietta and Woodstock High School student Jessica Thomas, at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock reunification site during the multi-agency emergency response drill on Thursday. Looking on is Dr. Catherine Head of CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction, whose emergency response role is at the reunification site.