Mock Emergency Drill at Barrington High School

Written by Nicholas Forster, BHS student, liason to the Barrington Web Site Committee. March 27, 2006

On Wednesday October 18, 2005, Barrington High School took the first big step in what could be a larger plan to make Barrington and its schools safer. Beginning at close to 9 A.M. in the morning, the front of BHS looked to be a war-zone. There were tents laid on the grass, men in containment suits and numerous police men and their vehicles. It was the beginning of what would be a hectic day for the police force, the high school faculty and students, and anyone that lived on Lincoln Avenue. What was taking place exactly? It was a simulated mock disaster that was taken very seriously and followed all the necessary protocols. Numerous students were chosen to take part in this test, while other students witnessed what would happen from their classrooms, which were locked. The students selected to participate began the day waiting in the auditorium when suddenly for the drill a mock unknown chemical substance was released. The children were then evacuated while members of the Police Force and the S.W.A.T. team entered the building clearing it out and capturing the would be terrorists. Most rooms were then locked and the school was in "Lockdown". The children were then set to go through quarantine where they had their clothes and bodies washed.

The entire process began to die-down by noon and was completely over with around 1 P.M. The 20 or so members of the police force finally had time to relax a little while the children ate their "special" buffet lunch. All of the students also received a shirt that stated: "I survived the BHS Mock Disaster."

Thomas Campbell a junior at BHS stated his optimistic thoughts after the event. "Well, it showed me how unprepared the school may have been before, but this drill really showed some great improvement. Everyone worked hard and seemed to do what they were supposed to do. It was a fun, important experience."

Another junior Noël Barlow seemed to enjoy the event commenting, "It was interesting to see how a real emergency situation would work. Seeing all the 'emergency men' and trucks makes the scene seem much more overwhelming."

This mock disaster was exactly that, a trial, however what it does recognize is the possibility that anything can happen, even in a secluded suburban town. This process looked to be both revolutionary in its existence and it also looks to be a step in helping other schools deal with the possibility of an unfortunate problem. Now that the drill has been complete with flawless preparation and execution we can look forward and recognize that we will be able to successfully deal with a terrorist threat if need be.