Westwood performs lockdown drill and alarms students and staff

Westwood performs lockdown drill and alarms students and staff

Brianna Commerford

On Wednesday, March 26, Westwood Regional Jr./ Sr. High School conducted its monthly mandated emergency drill at approximately 10:15 a.m., early in the day’s third period. The drill was a lockdown, but was not announced as a drill and also included the setting off of fire alarms.

“A few months ago, the State visited Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School to evaluate our emergency protocols and behaviors. As a result of their visit, they informed us that we should no longer indicate if an emergency announcement was or was not a drill because they want us to arouse a realistic scenario every time,” said Assistant Principal Josh Cogdill.

Instead of the usual alert that the lockdown drill was beginning, the announcement simply said: “This is a lockdown. This is a lockdown!”  Many teachers and students reported that they began to panic but managed to successfully perform the standard lockdown procedures.

Cogdill said, “We are proud to say that 100 percent of our staff members followed the correct procedures. This collective decision would have kept the students safe and secure had this been a real situation. This means that if this drill had been an actual emergency, the behaviors of our staff members would have saved lives.”

Although this lockdown brought about the great precautions taken by the school, it also brought along fear among the student body as well as teachers. The announcement alone was enough to scare students. Junior Jenna Frazza said, “The fact that the announcement never clarified that it was a drill until after terrified me.”

The fear did not just stem from the alarming announcement, but also from the fire alarm that was pulled midway through the drill. Cogdill said, “We were encouraged to throw in variables when conducting these drills.  During the lockdown, we decided to pull the fire alarm to practice a situation where an active shooter would pull an alarm to draw out students.”

Junior Riley Flynn said, “As thoughts ran through my head of what could be wrong, the fire alarm went off and my heart skipped yet another beat.” The drill was scary and traumatizing, however, it did an excellent job in stimulating a real life situation.”