EATON — Eaton Community Schools held a Professional Development (PD) Day focused on school safety on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
During the first half of the day, all Eaton Community staff participated in “Stop the Bleed” training. Following lunch, staff convened for a mock crisis event.
According to Superintendent Jeff Parker, the district feels it is necessary to practice its safety plan often enough so if an emergency situation ever occurs, staff can react on muscle memory and know what they’re supposed to do.
“We now know, with what has happened, that we have to train and be prepared. It is a very intense type of day. Our objective isn’t to necessarily simulate what might happen, our objective is to get the brain training and thinking about what we would do in a sudden situation, so our brain feels like it has been through it before,” he said.
Kettering Health Network worked with Eaton Community Schools to provide Stop the Bleed training. All staff — from teachers, to custodians, to bus drivers — were able to participate.
“That is something that has come about, because you’ve had situations where people have bled out before emergency medical could get to them. This is a way to, hopefully, intervene in a way that keeps them from bleeding out before emergency medical gets there,” Parker said.
Kettering Health Network also donated Stop the Bleed kits that will be split throughout the buildings. These kits contain supplies that would help Stop the Bleed in an emergency situation — such as tourniquets.
Following lunch, the district simulated an active shooter event, allowing the staff to react accordingly to the situation.
Staff gathered in the high school gymnasium bleachers, to represent a pep rally. From there, EPD Detective Luke Baker stood in as a disgruntled parent who Superintendent Jeff Parker took into the hallway to have a conversation. Blanks were fired out in the hallway and those gathered had to react.
The majority of teachers and staff gathered evacuated the high school gymnasium in 20-30 seconds. The active shooter entered the gym and additional shots were fired.
The simulation portrayed three lost lives and 12 injuries.
Following the event, staff were brought back into the building for a debriefing, where they could ask questions and get clarification on the situation. Parker also asked all who participated to fill out a comment sheet, so the district can improve safety measures moving forward.
After the debriefing, staff and administration went to their relocation place, where parents would be responsible for picking up their children after a crisis event.
Parker added, Eaton Police Department and Eaton Community Schools administration were both impressed with how fast the staff evacuated and how they thought on their feet to avoid getting jammed or delayed at the exits.
The debrief also helped Parker and administration learn areas for improvement, such as communication. This will allow them to work on their safety plan and train staff to react instantaneously.
“I hope they feel better, because they had another opportunity to prepare in case something does happen. I know they’re thinking about situations like this more, because of this training. We’re practicing with our brains,” Parker said. “I think it is the expectation that we focus on safety. If something were to happen, we want to do all we can to save the lives of our students and staff.
“We know there have been more events in the last 20 years in this area. We know the odds are statistically still high that it will not happen, but we do know it can. We have to be prepared. We have to do what we can to prepare our minds for that situation.”
The following agencies participated in the crisis event: Eaton Police Department, Eaton Fire and EMS Department, Eaton Community Schools staff, and student volunteers.
Parker added, “There isn’t a day that we’re not thinking about it in some aspect. We are parents, some of these people here I’ve known a long time. The most important thing is their safety. We’re going to do what we can to ensure the safety of everybody in these buildings.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH