West Ferris Trojans on lockdown VideoFriday, September 27, 2013 by: Kate AdamsA peaceful Friday morning at West Ferris Secondary School quickly turned into a tense situation as staff and students went into lockdown when two assailants stormed the halls of the school looking for one of their children.
Although the lockdown was only a drill for both North Bay Police Service Emergency Response Team and the school, Principal Sean Ruddy says as we look at what is happening at other schools in Canada and the United States the reality is schools are vulnerable to a number of safety issues inside and out and that knowing what to do in these situations is paramount.
Ruddy, who stood watch taking notes as the event unfolded, says he is pleased to see that the lockdown procedure was in full swing as quickly as it was and. He was however, concerned with the delay in the announcement of the lockdown over the PA system and with the number of students left in vulnerable positions and will debrief with faculty and staff on best practices to improve moving forward.
Chief Paul Cook says exercises like this one serve as valuable training tools for all involved.
“It’s invaluable training that has to take place in this day and age,” he states.
“You know these real life scenarios we’ll debrief afterwards and the guys will talk about what they did well, where they could improve and again I think it’s a really good educational process for not just our team but for the staff and students.”
The team knows protocol must strictly be followed when responding a school based situation because lives are on the line and they don’t know what they are up against with the intruders, whether or not they are armed and if they are armed what kind of weapons could that be because from knives to bombs anything is possible.
The officers go into the school and storm the halls moving from one classroom to the next securing the perimeter and searching for the perpetrators.
Sargent Mike Hunter ERT Leader says based on the majority of mass shootings that have occurred as of late the majority have occurred in centres just like North Bay and therefore no matter how lovely and sleepy a day might be his team and all emergency personnel have to be ready to respond.
He says since the Columbine disaster, schools and other institutions are vulnerable to a number of safety issues inside and out and that knowing what to do in an intense situation is key to the team's training.