Sgt. Dino Falcone and Cst. Lisa Schmidtke delivered a safety talk to the kindergarten class as part of last week’s Lockdown drill at South Nelson Elementary.

South Nelson Elementary practices ‘emergency hide and seek’

Sgt. Dino Falcone and Const. Lisa Schmidtke did their annual visit to ensure safety of youngsters.

During the “emergency hide and seek” drill held at South Nelson Elementary School last week, students efficiently huddled into pre-planned hiding places with their teachers and practiced “marshmallow mouth” to keep silent.

Susanne Maguire’s Grade 2/3 class even used pillows and cushions to disguise their hiding places, leaving the classroom looking deserted to any potential intruders.

“This is about teaching kids to keep themselves safe,” Cst. Lisa Schmidtke told the Star. “The messaging throughout our district is the same and simple: hide, stay calm, stay quiet.”

It wasn’t South Nelson’s first time doing the drill, which is part of the safety program Lockdown. Implemented by Schmidtke and Sgt. Dino Falcone every year, it involves working with the fire department, the school district and the community to develop safety protocols for every school in the Kootenay Lake district.

And though they don’t explicitly talk to the children about what exactly they’re hiding from, most parents need no explanation for why these emergency protocols are necessary.

“With the little ones we try to make it fun, so they remember. We call it ‘Emergency Hide and Seek’, we use different terminology, and we make it a fun game for them,” said Schmidtke.

Currently Schmidtke is urging the district to move towards self-locking doors in every school, so teachers no longer need to carry keys. At South Nelson every door in the school was able to lock except one, and there are already plans to fix it.

“In all the research regarding other incidents and lockdowns, there’s yet to be an incident where the door is locked that an intruder has successfully entered,” Schmidtke said. “The plan is all the doors will lock automatically upon closing, and those doors won’t reopen until the police show up and open it.”

Police have keys to every school in the district.

“We’re teaching the exact protocol from preschool right up to retirement,” said Schmidtke. “Kids are trained to go into a room, lock the door and hide.”

During the drill, Grade 1 student Dario Amaroso found himself in an unexpected spot: the school office. He’d noticed some smoke outside and was hoping to alert the school administration to a potential fire. Then Lockdown began, and Amaroso rushed to a nearby bathroom with the school secretary.

“That was the closest thing I could find,” he told the Star, adding that the drill made him feel “safe” and “good”.

Principal Kim Jones said the Lockdown drill heartens her both as a school administrator and as a parent.

“My own daughter was here the first year we started Lockdown, and Lisa can speak to it as well because her sons are here: as a parent I appreciate knowing the school is being proactive. We entrust our children to the school’s care, and it really feels like we’re doing our due diligence.”

When the drill was over, Schmidtke spoke to the school over the P.A. system.

“You’re definitely safety experts,” she said. “We’re extremely impressed, well done South Nelson!”

 

Just Posted

Forester’s video animation helps explain Nelson’s wildfire risks

John Cathro’s video shows who owns land in and around Nelson

‘Surrounding a community with a fire break won’t help’

RDCK offers fire danger assessments to homeowners

Carfentanil found for first time in Castlegar

Killer opiod found in local illegal drug market

LETTER: 140,000 jobs are at risk

From reader Robert MacCrae

LETTER: Grateful for guardian angels

From reader Botella (Bo) Rudolph

VIDEO: Nelson students paint Parachutes for the Planet

The youth-led initiative lobbies governments for climate change action

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

Most Read