Hazen Schools holds Critical Incident Drill
By Lee Coleman
The large semi-tractor, carrying a load of anhydrous ammonia, made its way down Highway 200 in Hazen. Nearing the Hazen Middle School, the trailer suddenly developed a leak, spewing white clouds of toxic anhydrous ammonia into the air.
As students from all three Hazen schools sat in their classrooms [enacted], an eerie announcement was made, notifying everyone of the leak and imposing a total lock-down of the schools.
Teachers and administrators immediately went into “shelter-in- place” mode and every room containing people had to be locked and sealed inside and at the bottom of the doors with duct tape to keep the fumes out of the rooms.
With three people acting out “victim” roles out on the highway and near the school, the critical incident drill: shelter in place got underway last Wednesday at the schools.
With Wenck Associates, Bismarck, overseeing the drill, Mercer County Emergency Director Carmen Reed said the drill, like other drills, was designed to find out what needs to be improved upon in the event of a live emergency scenario, including an active gunman inside the school or on the premises.
“Overall, I think it went very well,” said Reed. “We all learned some things about how we could have done it better. When the 911 call came in, our response was very good and I truly believe if it had actually happened, we would be ready and would have responded well in this emergency.