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home : news : news May 22, 2019

4/8/2019 3:20:00 PM
Lincoln County Schools Conduct Reunification Drill
Photos Courtesy Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
Photos Courtesy Lincoln County Sheriff's Office

Lincoln County Sheriff's
Office Press Release

LINCOLNTON, N.C.- In preparation for a natural disaster or shooter evacuation event, Lincoln County Schools in conjunction with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Services, Lincoln County Communications Center, and the Fire Department practiced reunification of students and staff during a school-wide drill at West Lincoln Middle School on Friday April 5, 2019.

“School safety is our top priority”, said Dr. Lory Morrow, Superintendent. “The reunification drill is one of the many ways the school district continues to focus on safety. The reunification drill allowed us to test various school and district level processes and protocols in an effort to be prepared. I am grateful for our strong partnership with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the other county agencies as we all work together to keep our schools safe.”

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The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office assisted the Lincoln County Schools with planning, providing manpower for security at the school and park. The Sheriff's Office SWAT team used the opportunity to conduct building and room clearing operations while the school was empty of students but book bags, desk and all school equipment was in place as if it were a regular school day. All agencies were able to practice their unified command training to manage the drill.

These same departments and organizations conducted a county side active shooter drill in the summer of 2017 at Lincolnton Middle School. The point of that drill was to allow for an opportunity to remove personnel from a building and mediate a potential perpetrator on school grounds. The objective of the most recent drill was to then practice the many processes involved in removing students and staff from a potential crime scene or natural disaster scene to somewhere off site, responding to physical needs, coordinate responses for transportation, supplies, and assistance, and then reunifying students with their parents. “Nothing experienced today was a failure”, said Rodney Emmitt, LC Fire Marshal. “Today was a chance to practice plans, back up plans, adult responses, and leadership across multiple organizations. What happened Friday was a direct result of over 700 people working together for a shared goal”, said Kristie Ballard, West Lincoln Middle Principal.

Emergency officials recommend the following safety reminder to parents and community members in the event of this being an actual event within our community:

Do not go to the school or event location. Roads will be blocked off and you will not be able to gain access at this location.

Listen for reunification information within local media outlets.

Check the appropriate webpage and social media outlets involved in the event for correct information. Some third-party sites and individuals will potentially misrepresent correct information.

Once an active shooter or natural disaster occurs, the facility impacted will then become an active investigation scene and will have restricted general access.

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