Nobody wants to think about a disaster hitting one of our schools, but it’s imperative that district leaders plan for every conceivable emergency.
As Bethel’s Risk Manager, it’s Lauren Lasater’s job to figure out those worst-case scenarios and make sure everyone is prepared to deal with them.
One way the district stays prepared is by equipping every school with a large Emergency Container meant to keep students and staff safe in the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake. In addition to multiple 55-gallon water drums, each container holds heaters, a generator, tools, lights, first aid kits, and enough food to feed students and staff for 72 hours.
Lasater said not every school district in the state has Emergency Containers.
The containers, which the district buys used and then modifies to add shelving and insulation, have a lifespan of roughly a decade. They’re checked twice a year to make sure the equipment and the containers themselves are working properly.
“The container needs to be in good condition for the supplies to be in good condition. They can get water logged or damaged by insects. We want all of our containers to be well taken care of and ready to be used,” Lasater said.
Earlier this summer the district replaced the emergency container at Evergreen Elementary.
Emergency containers are just a small part of the district’s overall safety plan. Lasater said Bethel has recently completed or is currently working on host of emergency preparedness items.
- Last summer new door locks were installed in classrooms throughout the district. The new locks allow students and teachers to put their classrooms in lockdown quicker.
- Bethel’s Hazard Mitigation Plan is in the process of being updated. The plan evaluates the entire district for hazards. It will update any uncompleted initiatives, determine safety priorities, and find ways to avoid or minimize risk for our students, staff and parents.
- New flashing zone beacons will soon be installed along the roadways at several Bethel schools, including one in the Spanaway Middle/Thompson Elementary area, one near Spanaway Lake High School, one in the Bethel High, Bethel Middle, and Shining Mountain area, and another near Camas Prairie Elementary.