Eleven Butler County school districts will participate in a full-scale safety exercise on June 18 at the Ross Local High School and Middle School campus (3371 Hamilton Cleves Road Hamilton, OH 45013). This exercise will simulate an active shooter at a board meeting (taking place in the middle school) while numerous activities are occurring throughout the campus, including sporting events, conferences and athletic practices. The safety exercise will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and it will involve nearly 200 students and adults. This is the first time in Butler County history that a safety exercise of this scope has been planned.
According to Katharine Clayton, Director of Public School Safety for the Butler County Educational Service Center (BCESC), “This will be a complex, coordinated event involving multiple first responders, community partners, county and state agencies, and participating school districts.”
The purpose of the full-scale safety exercise is to provide a hands-on or physical test to evaluate a school district’s Emergency Operations Plan and the district’s emergency preparedness in handling this type of event. Every district in Ohio is required to conduct at least one annual emergency management test as defined in the Ohio Revised Code. A district can conduct a different type of test within a 3-year cycle, including a tabletop, functional, or full-scale exercise. The exercise planned for June 18 will meet the requirements of mobilization of personnel and equipment along with activating an Incident Command Post to coordinate all response functions. This test will allow these participating districts to meet the requirements of the full-scale exercise: Butler Tech, Edgewood, Fairfield, Hamilton, Lakota, Madison, Middletown, Monroe, New Miami, Ross and Talawanda.
Participating agencies include: the Butler County Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ross Township Police and Fire Departments, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan Township Fire and EMS Department, Colerain Township Fire and EMS Department, UC-West Chester Hospital, and Hamilton County Educational Service Center. The BCESC also invited numerous school resource officers (SROs) from participating school districts to participate and observe. While these first responders will not fully engage during the event, they will provide direction and support for the school districts.
After the completion of the safety exercise, participants, administrators, first responders and other individuals serving as evaluators will analyze the exercise to identify strengths and areas of improvement to enhance the districts’ Emergency Operations Plan. Each participating district will submit the results of the full-scale safety exercise to the Ohio Department of Education to meet state requirements.