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Hamilton’s Washington School Emergency Drill was Handled with Care

kids clustered on playground
The Washington Primary School kids are assembled during drill. (KLYQ Photo)
At Hamilton’s Washington Friday School Friday, the day was sunny, the kids were prepared and the emergency was imaginary.

The 240 kindergarten and 1st grade kids participated in a full emergency drill at about 1 p.m. April 26, with a simulated natural gas leak in the schools heating system. The students were evacuated from the building and went to their practiced “safe” places at the far end of the playground (see photo). Meanwhile, a few of the students and staff were selected as “victims” of exposure to gas, and were sent to the hospital for checkups.

After a count of the classes, the teachers escorted them about three blocks to the nearby Hamilton Middle School, where they were gathered together to watch a video. A few of the students were “re-united” with their parents – a scene that would happen if the emergency was real.

Becky Brough of the Hamilton School System, who has overseen this and other full scale drills, said it was a very successful practice. She told KLYQ News that an informal survey of the students following the drill showed very few who were frightened by the event, and instead, a majority who were “excited.”

Crews from the Hamilton Police Department, Northwest Energy, Marcus Daly Hospital, Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office and others all had a chance to work together and test communication and preparedness in such an incident.

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