Jefferson County Schools, law enforcement conduct “evacuation and reunification” drill

LEETOWN, W.Va. — It’s a drill they hope they never have to do in real life, but Jefferson County Schools and local first responders on Friday conducted a large scale “evacuation and reunification” drill at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Fifth graders from Wright Denny Intermediate and family members volunteered during the event that practiced relocating staff and students to safety and reuniting students with their families during an emergency event.

Jefferson County Schools Public Information Officer Hans Fogle said local law enforcement teamed with the school district to make the drill work.

“This will give us an opportunity to walk through what would happen if we have to reunite students with parents and guardians,” Fogle said.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Robert Sell was at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Friday for the event.  He said it was a chance to put plans to practice.

“We have a plan that’s on paper and now it’s the chance to put it into place.”

Sell, a 20-year veteran of the force, said it is key to get first responders from throughout the area involved.

Brandan Caton, Jefferson County Schools director of operational safety and facilities, said “evacuation and reunification” might be necessary for any number of reasons.

“If there’s a train derailment in Ranson and we need to move a school or there’s a fire within the city limits and we need to move a school because of that hazard–then this is the situation that we would handle,” Caton said. “In a more violent situation there would be different protocols.”

Jefferson County Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joyce White said the school system benefits from close relationships with first responders.

“We are very blessed in Jefferson County to have such strong and caring law enforcement who partner with us in every way possible,” White said.

Those who took part in the drill included Charles Town Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

PNN Reporter Luke Wiggs contributed to this story. 

More News

One dead in I-64 wreck
Crash happened Sunday evening.
June 4, 2023 - 11:00 pm
Nicholas County Schools still trying to navigate impact of flood 7 years later
Money issues threaten rebuild of flooded schools.
June 4, 2023 - 7:16 pm
Low-interest loans available to 2022 flood victims in select counties
The Disaster Loan Outreach Center is located at Belle Town Hall located at 1100 E. Dupont Avenue.
June 4, 2023 - 5:04 pm
A watch party to be held for acclaimed Charleston chef, Paul Smith as he takes the national stage
For the first time in West Virginia history, a West Virginia culinary artist, Chef Paul Smith is vying for the title of Best Chef: Southeast at the James Beard Awards in Chicago.
June 4, 2023 - 4:00 pm