Code Red drill prepares SHS for potential intruder danger

November 16, 2009 — by Izzy Albert and Ren Norris

Everyone recalls the 33 people who died in the on-campus shooting at Virginia Tech in April of 2007. However, many people overlook the number of lives that were saved by simple procedures that Virginia Tech classrooms followed on that tragic day. By barricading and locking the doors, the shooter was unable to enter several classrooms and went on to others—sparing the lives of many.

On Nov. 24, the school will hold its annual Code Red drill to practice the procedures that need to be taken in the case of an intruder on campus. The drill will last for an hour and consist of each classroom locking and building a barricade for their door, remaining silent with the lights off and staying away from the windows and door to ensure safety, assistant principal Joe Bosco said.

Administrators and sheriff’s deputies will then check the school perimeter and go class to class, making sure the barricades are well built and procedures are being followed.

In past years, there have been larger scale Code Red drills that consist of an entire evacuation involving a team of trained police. However, as that drill would take up a whole day, administration has decided that the small scale Code Red drill will suffice for this school year.

“The bottom line is that a person in a fit of rage is not going to take the time to go through a blocked door,” Bosco said. “This drill is to make sure students know what to do and teachers have a procedure in place.”

There has never been an actual Code Red called at the school, but the administration believes that being prepared for this situation is essential to the safety of the school.

“In the event of something like this happening, it is better to be prepared than not prepared,” said Bosco.

Staff are preparing for the drill by reviewing classroom procedures and instructions to carry out in the event of a Code Red.

“I don’t think you can ever be too ready for a disaster,” said history teacher Kirk Abe, “but the more we practice it the better we’re off.”

Bosco emphasizes the importance of the Code Red drill.

“These procedures such as barricading the door—these are the things that save lives,” said Bosco.

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