Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown tragedy underscores the importance of disaster planning

Police and teachers lead Newtown students to safety.
(Photo: Danbury News-Times)
Along with other Plainfielders, I am in shock over the senseless carnage yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose children were lost and also to the loved ones of those teachers and other adults whose lives were taken.

As the news and reactions took over the radio waves yesterday, one WNYC listener who was a middle school teacher called in and made a valuable point: Schools that have emergency plans -- including lockdowns -- and perform drills throughout the year do an invaluable service for the children in their care in the case of incidents like yesterday's shootings.

While I can remember fire drills as a student (and even more recently as a patient at Norwood Terrace), and thinking of them as a pain in the butt, they undeniably prepare us for unforeseen circumstances by giving us a framework for responding and maximizing the safety of all involved.

As stories begin to emerge of how teachers handled the situation while the school was in turmoil and how the students lives were protected and ultimately saved, we can acknowledge not only their bravery but the wisdom of the administration in having plans in place.

I have been told by Plainfield school district employees that we, too, have plans in place and execute drills for the students on how to deal with unforeseen emergency situations.

I hope that we shall never have to put them into effect, but trust that if ever needed the students will be thankful that they put up with all the times the exercises seemed without point.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Schools have in fact been conducting security drills in Plainfield for many years now. Since last year, one a month is planned and executed to ensure safety. Recently, I read on a board agenda that two schools, Jefferson and PAAAS, have hired a security consultant to teach their staff crisis management training. This tragedy is horrible, but I am glad that our schools are looking at safety. The situation in Conn tells us that the drills save many many lives.