Tulsa Public Schools Conducts Large-Scale Safety Drill

Tuesday, January 25th 2011, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa Public Schools held its first full-scale mock drill Tuesday.

The school sent a letter home with students two weeks ago to let parents know about the drill. But they weren't given any details. They wanted it to be a cold drill and to make it as real as possible.

The faculty and staff at Remington Elementary immediately leapt into action Tuesday morning, alerted to a mock scenario of a train derailment in West Tulsa, with potentially hazardous material in the air.

With the help of Tulsa Area Emergency Management, Tulsa Police, and Tulsa Firefighters, 300 students were loaded one-by-one onto school buses to be taken to the Tulsa Fairgrounds.

"The district has safety as one of the number one goals and priorities," Dr. Cassandra Funderburk, Remington Elementary Principal, said.  "Every school is focused on days like this that could happen for real."

The same was happening at Clinton Middle School and Webster High School. Park and Robertson Elementary were placed on lockdown and students and staff moved to shelters at the school.

It was a successfully executed drill.

"Getting all the kids out very quickly. We've had several people say that it went smooth," Dr Funderburk said. "These students listened. Course they are little, so we have to remind them to listen."

But it was not without its hiccups.

"So when I said we are now evacuating the building. They are thinking fire drill. So we had some go outside. Well that's the worst thing! Because you don't want to breathe the air," she said. "So it was how I worded it on the announcement. I will change that in the future."

Emergency Managment's Bob Roberts says that's the point of the drill. To point out areas of weakness and areas that need improvements.

"Are we learning things today? Absolutely. Are we making mistakes? Yep. Here and there. Nothing serious. All in all, I think we are happy with the way things are going," Roberts said.

The point was to test the school district's ability to keep students safe in case of a real emergency.

Students ate lunch at the fairgrounds and then returned to their schools.

So what went well? Organizers say transportation was ahead of schedule. What didn't go well? Bob Roberts says there was a minor glitch with communication to other agencies by radio.