Mineral Wells Area News

MWISD Preparing for Major Disaster Drill

MWISD Preparing for Major Disaster Drill
October 27
11:06 2022

Letter from Superintendent Dr John Kuhn to Staff

MWISD Staff:

On November 4, we will be having a major drill that will involve the entire district as well as assets from MWPD. In addition, officers from MWFD may be present to observe. I’m considering inviting the media as well.

The drill: We will evacuate staff and “pretend students” from Lamar and bus them to MWHS. Then we will attempt to reunify a very small sampling of pretend students with their pretend parents.

(Note: given time and bus and driver constraints, we may not be able to fully evacuate all parties from Lamar. We will do what we can with what we have and then extrapolate from that data to have an idea of how quickly we could evacuate the building and how many buses we would likely need to send over in a real emergency like this.)

The scenario: a house adjacent to Lamar filled with natural gas and ignited, causing a major explosion across the street. The FD has called the DSC and ordered us to get that building completely evacuated as quickly as possible as a precaution. When everything is set to go, Lamar admin will get a call from me or Tarver informing that they just felt a very strong explosion throughout their building. (They will need to do whatever they would deem appropriate if this were to really happen.) Approximately five minutes later, Lamar admin will get a call from me or Tarver saying that MWFD has ordered us to evacuate the building. At approximately the same time, Tarver or I will contact Bret Barrick and ask that buses be sent to Lamar for an evacuation. Then we will call HS admin and inform them that we are evacuating to their site and to prepare to receive hundreds of students and staff from Lamar. Someone from the DSC will be tasked with contacting MWPD officials to request an escort. Tarver will go to Lamar to set up a pretend incident command post; I’ll stay behind at the DSC to manage internal and external communications. The PD is aware that we are planning this. I also plan to put something on FB to alert the public so they don’t panic when they see buses being escorted by police cars that day.

I would encourage everyone to look up the evacuation procedure in our EOP to familiarize yourself with our process.

The execution of the evacuation will be the responsibility of the Lamar admin. The receiving and monitoring of evacuees will be the responsibility of HS admin. Assistance from DSC officials will be available.

At some point, we will either have evacuated everyone from Lamar, or we will stop the evacuation due to time constraints. After the evacuation ends, we will then attempt a small partial reunification. HS will have a handful of staff members who are assigned as “pretend parents.” The reunification will be the responsibility of the HS and Lamar staff working together. They will need to match “pretend parents” with their “pretend students.” DSC will have provided the “pretend parents” with the names of their “pretend students.” Lamar admin will also have this information, because in a scenario like this in real life, Lamar admin would have the contact info for their students (HS admin would not have it).

Here is what MWISD staff will need to do on Nov 4:

All HS staff will report to MWHS at 1:30pm and go to wherever they would be at 1:30pm on a typical school day.

All other staff will report to Lamar elementary school at 1:30pm.

Lamar staff will serve in their normal roles. They will pretend it’s a normal school day. The actual clock time will be the time we are pretending it to be in our fictional school day—so…some teachers will be on conference if they would normally be on conference, at recess, etc. Campus admins will be in charge as they would be if this were a real, unfolding crisis.

Since I don’t know exactly when the drill will go off, it might happen that while we’re waiting for it to occur, some Lamar staff will need to take their “students” to computers, PE, the bathroom, etc. Again, please follow your real-life schedule. The more realistic you treat it, the better practice it is.

Houston, Travis, and Junior High staff will play the role of students. (We are not practicing classroom management, so don’t be funny and try to get sent to ISS.) We at the DSC are building rosters now—all Houston, Travis, and MWJH staff will have a teacher to whose roster you are assigned, and you will need to report to your teacher’s classroom when you arrive at Lamar at 1:30. (We will email these rosters to principals when they’re finished for sharing out to staff. You can look and see who’s in your class with you!)

The gas explosion will occur around 2:00pm (or 1:45pm if we get everyone in place quickly). This is a follow-up to a drill we did at MWJH before COVID, where we practiced evacuating to a gym, but we didn’t do the full-on bus evacuation. We are building capacity little-by-little by adding wrinkles. (Hopefully we will never have to do this, but we want to practice it so the first time we do it isn’t during a real emergency.)

I will ask Bret Barrick to take careful note of the start time and end time and the ridership to see how quickly we are able to evacuate how many people. This data is very important.

One important housekeeping item:

There is not enough parking at Lamar for every teacher from Houston, Travis, and Junior High to drive to Lamar. So…we will have two buses parked in the bus lane at Houston and two at Travis to shuttle teachers. Those buses will stop by JH if they aren’t full to pick up any JH teachers who are willing to ride. If they’re full, they’ll drop off at Lamar and then return to JH to pick up more folks.

If you choose to take your own car straight from lunch to Lamar, my recommendation is that you rideshare with as many teachers as possible. DO NOT BLOCK DRIVEWAYS OF NEIGHBORS!

Again: there are NOT enough parking spaces at Lamar to accommodate three campuses’ worth of employees. If you can go to lunch and get back to your campus in time to catch the shuttle, that would be best.

If you have any questions about this drill, please ask. I’m sure I’ve missed some important detail, and I’m sure someone will notice it and talk smack about me. Goes with the job. But this is a pretty good start on it. Let’s just do this, and see how it goes. Practice makes perfect. (This may be an absolute trainwreck, but I’d rather have it be a trainwreck during a drill than during the real thing.)

Thanks for your cooperation. Our goal is to be the safest school in the state of Texas. Realistic drills are a vital part of that effort.

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