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Local School Systems Revamping Fire Alarm Protocols

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Local School Systems Revamping Fire Alarm Protocols

School systems across the Upper Cumberland are bolstering fire alarm policies after a change in state policy.

The new legislation requires all schools to develop procedures to determine the cause of an activated fire alarm. Pickett County Director of Schools Diane Elder said she held a safety meeting with the school’s new homeland security officer, local law enforcement, and EMS. She said the new policy will help faculty discern the cause of an alarm and avoid leading students outside where there may be a threat waiting.

“You just didn’t really think a whole lot about things like that,” Elder said. “That it could be a way of getting our students outside and easy targets. We definitely don’t want that to happen.”

Elder said in her years in education, she never dreamed she would have to think about something like this. The legislation comes in response to the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School, where an activated fire alarm caused confusion.

She said though she would rather keep the details of the system’s plan confidential, she feels more confident in the new protocol.

“I think every director in the United States would tell you that safety would be at the top of their list in concerns, and it is definitely at the top of my list,” Elder said. “We want to make sure we can do everything we can possible to keep our students and our staff safe.”

Elder said training the students and teachers on the new plan is a work in progress. She said she is greatly appreciative of the school’s homeland security officer for his role in providing safety to all of the county’s schools and sharing his expertise in discussions about how to prevent an illegitimate fire alarm from making students susceptible to danger.

She said during discussions about the new protocol, she realized that the school’s existing fire alarm plan needed to be revamped anyway.


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