Cabell County Schools Routinely Practice Emergency Drills To Boost Student Safety

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- "Code Red" -- those are two words a school district doesn't want to hear.

It's a worst case scenario that means a heightened safety risk.

At Enslow Middle School, Code Red drills are practiced on average about every three months.

"It's a happy medium," Assistant Principal Lisa Riley said. "We want to keep the fear from them (the students), but we want them to understand exactly why they're doing it; it's for their safety."

During a Code Red drill, teachers black out windows -- even to doors leading to the hallways. They lock the doors, turn off the lights and have the children huddle nearby.

During the code, they also quickly check the hall, grab any random, stray students and text administrators they're safe in classrooms. The classrooms stay in lockdown until the "all clear" is given.

Parents may not realize the county's school district is part of a bigger safety team that meets every month, according to Jedd Flowers, the communications director with Cabell County Schools.

"We work out the plans with West Virginia's Homeland Security office, the TTA and first responders with Cabell County 911," Flowers said. "Every door in every school building is numbered from the outside, and Cabell County's first responders now have maps of the schools' floor plans."

The heightened security is a result of a nationwide awareness after the Columbine School Massacre in Colorado in 1999 and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

"We live in a world today where we can't control everything, but we do our utmost best to keep them safe," Riley said.

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