On Wednesday, April 10th Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students and staff worked in conjunction with the Oak Lawn Police Department, Arbor, Sward and the Oak Lawn Park District for an emergency evacuation drill. While an evacuation drill of this nature is not yet state-mandated, Principal Kristin Simpkins felt the drill was an opportunity to better prepare the OLHMS community.
“While there are a variety of state-mandated drills that we participate in every year we felt as a community that adding the evacuation element only greater prepares our students and staff for that emergency should it arise,” said Simpkins.
Intended to mirror a real-life evacuation, the drill ran through the events of an actual emergency. Students were bussed to an evacuation site and then a family reunification site.
“In the interest of preparedness and out ongoing commitment to school safety, we want to ensure we are taking the appropriate time to practice large-scale emergency response. These drills will help out students, faculty and first responders calibrate their understanding in the event of a crisis so that their actions promote the safety and welfare of all members of our learning community,” said Superintendent Paul Enderle.
The drill started promptly at 9:00 am with a police escort safely evacuating the nearly 1200 students and staff out of the building and to a safe area before bussing them to the final safe zone. Developing the plan took Laura Ferrell, Assistant Principal of OLHMS, and her team nearly a year and a half.
“Ferrell led a committee of teachers through the ECRM planning process and what they built was a plan for any type of emergency and what we learned today was that the structure they came up with works. I want to thank the students for the way they handled themselves today I cannot say enough about the work they put in today as well,” said Simpkins.
While the drill was planned to take place from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, administrators were glad to report the drill ended early and students were bussed back to OLHMS by 1:00 pm to resume their typical schedule.