On Thursday, October 17, 2019, the majority of elementary schools in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District will participate in a controlled emergency release exercise. The exercise, which will begin at 1:30 p.m., will follow the Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill in which all schools participate every year.
The school district piloted the controlled emergency release exercise at three elementary schools during the 2018/19 school year, and used the feedback from the pilot to refine the drill. The intent is to conduct the controlled emergency release exercise district-wide on a regular basis moving forward.
“Although we have always had emergency release procedures in place in our district, this will be our first opportunity to practice these procedures on a larger scale,” said superintendent Sylvia Russell. “Exercises like this are an important part of our emergency preparedness portfolio and we would like them to become a more routine part of our operations.”
With the exception of Environmental school and newly opened c̓əsqənelə Elementary, all elementary public schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be participating in the exercise. Also participating will be Pitt Meadows Secondary, which is piloting emergency release at the secondary level. All other secondary schools in the district will complete the exercise later in the 2019/20 school year.
Emergency preparedness is a key theme in the school district this school year. Last month, the district rolled-out a new school safety notification system, which it developed in collaboration with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.