CCTEC Simulates Protocol in Emergency Preparedness Exercises

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Someone walks into school one day with a weapon. The hallways and classrooms are full, catching students and faculty off guard. What do you do?

The Cumberland County Technical Education Center and Community College worked Thursday morning, August 9th, to make sure they are prepared for an emergency situation, such as a shooter entering the campus. 

“With everything that’s happening with active shooters, people wanting to come into schools to do harm to our student population, our staff, our visitors, we thought it was important to make sure that if anything like that ever happened we’d be in a position to respond accordingly," said Andre Lopez, the director of Campus Safety and Security at CCTEC and Cumberland County Community College. 

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Teachers, students, and security of CCTEC walked through emergency preparedness exercises with first responders throughout the day. 

"When you’re providing campus safety and security, especially at the high school level you’re taking on a task to protect our biggest assets, our children, our future leaders, and we need to be prepared," said Lopez.

During the exercises, there is not a single sound throughout the school. There are not any bells ringing, students are not walking through the hallways, and doors and lockers remain closed. Students are practicing for a fire drill, medical emergency, but also in case of an active shooter.  

“It’s very nerve wrecking. I don’t [go to] school to be worried. I come to school to learn and have fun,” said Alexis Centeno, a student volunteer and rising junior at CCTEC.

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Students volunteered to be part of the pilot program. Once organized, it will be introduced to everyone on campus. 

“Once we were in the room, they stopped the hostage, and we waited for the police to come, and we went into stage three, which was evacuation into a secondary location — then we get reunited with our families," said Centeno.

The emergency preparation did not just happen in the halls of CCTEC.

“The lockdown emergency preparedness exercise today and subsequent active shooter evacuation and reunification focused on the high school side of the campus," said Lopez. "However, when we went into a full lockdown that was a campus-wide lockdown on the college end of the campus also.” 

Experts say it is important for all schools to prepare just in case they find themselves in danger.



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