Emergency plan enhanced at Carbon Hill schools

Posted 1/29/20

CARBON HILL — Students, faculty and staff at Carbon Hill schools can now feel more secure with enhanced emergency response measures in place.

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Emergency plan enhanced at Carbon Hill schools


CARBON HILL — Students, faculty and staff at Carbon Hill schools can now feel more secure with enhanced emergency response measures in place.

Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High and Carbon Hill High schools are both located under the same roof, which can make responding to an emergency situation difficult. 

"One of our challenges is that we're two separate schools in one building," Carbon Hill Elementary/Jr. High Principal Dr. Jami Rainey said. "If you get a phone call from one side, it's going to affect both of us."

Carbon Hill Elementary Assistant Principal Melinda Boots and Carbon Hill High Assistant Principal Chris Harris came up with a solution to help first responders navigate the large school campus — color-coded wayfinding.

School administrators invited representatives with Walker County E-911 to the school last week to share with them the campus' new safety plan.

Harris explained that hallways now have designated colors as a directional tool, made evident through the use of paint or colored signage.   

Walker County E-911 and local police and fire departments will be provided with a map of the school that features the color-coded halls.  

If, for example, someone called for emergency response at the school, they could say the problem is on the blue or red hallway, which would help first responders know exactly where to go upon arrival. 

"We were trying to eliminate some of the time with response," Harris said.

Boots said the wayfinding effort is also going to benefit school faculty. 

"We know they know their way around the school, but in a panic situation, you may completely forget which hall you're even on," Boots said, adding that color coding will help eliminate confusion.

Carbon Hill High Principal Kyle Dutton credited Harris and Boots with spearheading the wayfinding effort.

"I know we've worked hard to put some extra steps of protection in for the kids," he said. "They've worked together to coordinate between the two schools to make sure we are in alignment so if something did happen in an emergency, things could get resolved a little quicker and easier."

Walker County E-911 officials were highly impressed with the safety efforts.  

"You're lightyears ahead of the other schools. Y'all are leading the way," Walker County E-911 Executive Director Tim Thomas said. "I would love for the other schools to get on board and start this same process." 

Thomas, along with Walker County E-911 employees Crystal Hill and Sherrea Chamness, had an extended conversation with administrators about the wayfinding and even provided suggestions on how to make their emergency plan even stronger.

In addition to the wayfinding effort, the Carbon Hill schools' campus has measures in place to meet the medical needs of students if a lockdown were to occur, and all teachers are supplied with an emergency bag of necessities.