Wednesday, April 2, 2014

School ‘code red’ was accidentally triggered

District uses incident as a de-facto security drill

Express Staff Writer

    It wasn’t intended as a security drill, but ended up being a de-facto drill anyway after a staff member at Wood River High School on Monday accidentally triggered a “code red” security alert.
    Blaine County School District officials were quick to point out that the code red activation was a mistake.
    “All has been cleared and school has resumed,” Interim Superintendent John Blackman wrote in a statement sent to the Idaho Mountain Express at 12:53 p.m., which was less than 40 minutes after the code red was triggered. “There was no danger to staff or students. We apologize for this inconvenience and will use the experience as a great learning opportunity.”
The code red, activated at about 12:15 p.m., was also applied to the nearby Community Campus and Silver Creek High School facilities.
Not realizing the activation was a mistake, police responded in force.
“When they issued the code red, we assumed it was real and responded as if it was a real threat to the high school,” said Hailey Assistant Police Chief Dave Stellers. “Most of the officers were gone from the area in 20 minutes, but I had an officer there the rest of the day trying to figure out what happened.”
    District Communications Director Heather Crocker on Tuesday provided an explanation. She said security alerts can be activated from the landline phones at the high school and a staff member “unknowingly executed” the code red.
    Under the district’s security code system, code red, the highest security situation, means: “Stop, imminent danger, lock down, take cover immediately. If you are outside, do not enter the building. Hide. Be as invisible as possible. Be silent. Stay calm. Guide students/staff quickly into nearest classroom. Lock room, lights off, turn cell phones to vibrate, close windows and blinds. Note extra and missing students/staff. Remain in place until further action is announced.”
    Crocker said activation of a code red, though not intended, ended up being a good security drill.
    “It was a learning opportunity for us,” Crocker said. “The quick response gave us a lot of confidence. The majority of our staff and students did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

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