Code Red Drill Helps Teachers and Students Prepare for Emergency - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Code Red Drill Helps Teachers and Students Prepare for Emergency

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Virginia Palmer Elementary School recently conducted its annual Code Red Drill, which is a complete lockdown of the school.

The Washoe County School District conducts these safety drills at each school in the district. WCSD Director of Emergency Management Tracy Moore says the drills keep everyone sharp.

"Code Red is a word that we use as a lockdown. That's the most serious threat we have at the school district," said Moore.

Virginia Palmer was practicing its Code Red drill on an afternoon in March. When the announcement came over the school loudspeaker, administrators and teachers immediately started locking down the school. Teachers and students stopped what they were doing and moved quickly into action as well.

One thing you won't see during a Code Red Drill is kids running everywhere. That's because during a Code Red, teachers and students are locked inside their classrooms. "As emergency manager, I have three critical things I'm looking for," said Moore. "I'm making sure the teachers are locking the door. Number two, I'm making sure they're covering all the windows, and I'm making sure they're doing that accountability check, so that we know where all the teachers are and where the kids are inside the building."

We won't tell you exactly where they go, but every student, staff and teacher knows where they're supposed to be. As the drill progresses, each classroom is checked and cleared individually. That way, an assailant can't lure the students out of the rooms. Students know that only certain people can end the Code Red Drill. As we move through the school, the rooms look empty to someone who might make it through the locked door.

Teachers like Jennifer Noland say the practice makes everyone feel safer. "Like anything, the more we practice it, the quicker we can do it. And time is of the essence in these situations," she said.

School police monitor the drill to see what goes well, and what needs to be changed. They ask questions afterward during the debrief. "Could you hear the page outside? Did you hear something in the hallway? Did you find any doors unlocked? We meet as a team and everybody as a team provides their input on how they think the drill went," said Moore. 

Principal Jason Childs told us the team at Palmer Elementary did well and the small disruption for the drill was worth it. "It makes us feel prepared. God forbid the worst were to happen, we can go into action and I think that's a comfort to both the staff and the students and our parents." 

Written by Jennifer Burton

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