Troup County School System hosts trainings for dangerous scenarios in preparation for the new school year

LaGrange Bureau

LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Troup County School System partnered with the LaGrange Police and Fire Department on May 8, 2021 for their annual safety training.

All Troup County school administrators are required to attend in preparation for the new school year. The day consisted of fire extinguisher training, gang training and active shooter training.

“This specific training is what we call ‘Public Safety Training’ to give staff and administrators some exposure to different things that we’re concerned about as a school system. In this case, active shooter and active threats within our schools,” said Steve Heaton, District School Safety Coordinator.

The administrators are also asked to put together safety plans for each of their facilities. Heaton said that creating that plan helps them think and adjust to problems that may come up in the future at their schools. The safety plans are made to address address problems like fires, threatening weather and medical emergencies.

“What I do, each year, they send them to me and I actually put that out to our emergency personnel so they can receive it as well,” said Heaton.

The administrators make the safety plans based off of templates provided by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. The safety plans are updated every year and shared with each member of the school staff.

Mike Webb, Public Educator and Accreditation Manager for the LaGrange Fire Department, hosted the fire extinguisher training for the administrators. The training was fully digital with a screen simulating a fire and a fire extinguisher with a laser. This allowed the administrators to practice putting out a fire.

“They were real open to the idea of doing the fire extinguisher training and its just improved their job to make the children safer,” said Webb.

Webb and his team go to every school in the school system, every year, to ensure that all the schools are up to code in case of an emergency.

This is the first year that the administrators also had an active shooter simulation. The Troup County Sheriff’s department along with the LaGrange police and fire department simulated an active shooting in a school. Personnel were placed in locked classrooms and were escorted out of the building after blank bullets were fired.

Eric Lohr, the Patrol Lieutenant for the LaGrange Police Department, said it gave the school personnel the opportunity to see, hear and smell an active shooter situation.

“We want them to get a feel for what the event feels like, we want them to experience that and we want to also cover with them what’s next,” said Lohr.

Lohr said the police department hopes that the administrators will take what they learned during the active shooter simulation and will apply it to their safety plans of each facility.

Tiffany Pitts, a counselor at Hope Academy, said she believes the entire training was beneficial to her. She also said that she thinks being exposed to the active shooter simulation is a really good, proactive approach for the system.

“I just think it’s good so that we will be able to better assist and keep our students safe. The more we know, we can help them,” said Pitts.

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