Emergency drill at Cambria middle school tests Coast Unified staff

ktanner@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2013 

Emergency vehicles of all kinds descended on Santa Lucia Middle School on Schoolhouse Lane in Cambria on Thursday morning in a multi-agency test of readiness in case of natural or manmade crisis.

Coast Unified School District teachers and other staffers, students, bus drivers and members of the school district’s all-volunteer Security Council participated. The council did the planning for the drill, which included the full evacuation of the middle school campus, nestled near the top of a rural agricultural hill near the south end of town. The school has 171 students and about 20 employees.

It was the first time in recent memory — perhaps ever — the district did a total evacuation drill of one of its four campuses.

The drill began with a phone call announcing there was a fire in the gym. Cascading emergencies that followed included a mock gas leak and injured student taken away in an ambulance.

In a debriefing after the drill, which lasted about an hour, administrators, emergency personnel and members of the Security Council gave participants a B grade, plus or minus, depending on who was doing the grading.

They said the students did very well, as did emergency personnel, but school administration and staff needed to communicate better what was happening and who was supposed to do what and when.

“That’s what a drill is for, to show you what you need to fix,” said Lee Wight, head of support service and maintenance, and one of the staffers who serves on the Security Council.

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