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District prepares schools for disaster

Article Date: 
26 October, 2012 (All day)

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, nearly 2,000 students and faculty members from Morgan High, Morgan Middle and Morgan Elementary schools participated in a full evacuation drill.  This drill led them roughly a half mile from the school grounds to Wilkinson Construction.  
After the alarm sounded, teachers took their students to designated areas of the school grounds to be accounted for.  During this time the inside of the schools were checked to ensure no students were left behind.    Once the schools were cleared, the order was given to the teachers to lead the students off the grounds up 100 South.   This was one of the few things Superintendent Ken Adams found could be improved through the drill.  He felt there was some bottlenecking as the entire elementary evacuated through the south exit.  
“People do what they’re used to doing” Morgan County Sheriff Blaine Breshears said of the event.  He explained the drill will get them use to doing it and will help them know what to do in an actual emergency.  One thing for parents to be aware of is that students will only be released to parents in an actual emergency.  Parents will receive information through reverse 911 calls and radio transmission.      
Morgan Elementary school nurse Nadine Bambrough, hosted an aid station midway to the evacuation point.  She was set up with a large water dispenser, as well as first aid supplies.  This wagon of supplies was not only a comfort during the drill, but is one piece of the evacuation plan to help in a real emergency. Bambrough is expected to be the first one out of the building and off the school grounds and can be in place at her station in five minutes or less.  
Every classroom in the district has their own backpack filled with emergency supplies.  Students helped carry these packs with enough supplies to care for the classes’ immediate needs.  Water containers are available to use and can be filled with sanitary water from an isolated source.  “In case of evacuation, we will bring an ambulance initially,” Terry Turner, Morgan County ambulance supervisor and emergency management director, informed. “Then further needs will be determined.”  Wilkinson Construction will allow use of their huge storage sheds and, if needed, their building if weather necessitates it.   It has been determined this location is high enough to keep students safe in case of a flood.  
Turner has data suggesting it would take 30 minutes for flood water to reach the city if East Canyon experienced a sudden release and around 2 ½ hours for Echo and Lost Creek.  The students from the high school made it to the evacuation point in 19 minutes.  The elementary school followed in at 22 minutes and the middle school was on their heels at 24 minutes.  The preschool located at the elementary took 27 minutes.
The evacuation drill went so well some of those involved in the drill were surprised how fast the students were able to get to the evacuation point.   In the event of an emergency, faculty and students will not have the warning they did for this drill.  However several of the experts agreed they would probably be able to make it up even faster than they had on the day of the drill.  Turner explained there would be more confusion, but it is expected the evacuation would take less time in an actual emergency with adrenaline and older students helping younger children.   
“Today went well” Superintendent Adams said of the day. “It was well organized.”