"School security is, has been and always will be a priority for the City of Norwalk," said Mayor Harry Rilling during a Norwalk Public Schools safety briefing on Thursday.
Norwalk's Public School have taken a big step in school safety with the completion of the Emergency Response Guide created by the Office of Emergency Management.
Chief Denis McCarthy of the Norwalk Fire Department said, "We developed this guide so that in any type of an emergency, the response by the staff and students really boils down to four seperate and distinct actions."
Lockdown, lockout, shelter in place or evacuate - four categories of response that can be applied to a variety of emergencies.
"When we do those particular drills, the learning objectives - what the teachers and everybody needs to do - is specifically in that guide book," said Bob Killackey, a NJROTC teacher at Brien McMahon High School and member of the District School Safety Committee. "That then provides, for lack to a better term, a lesson plan for the teacher with their students."
Since the start of the 2013/2014 school year, Norwalk Public School and the City have been consistently working towards ensuring that Norwalk's schools are prepared in the event of an emergency.
Chief Thomas Kulhawik of the Norwalk Police Department discussed some of the projects done within the district to improve safety. Chief Kulhawik said, "Schools numbering the doors in the building so we have a common approach throughout the city, new locks being installed, improving signage, screening visitors, identifying areas of refuge in the school, a key control system"
Dr. Manuel Rivera, Superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools said, "Today it really is about teaching certain key life skills. We have to create a culture of safety within our schools where we are not only addressing the nature of a potential fire, although there have been major improvements in our facilities, but weather conditions, hazardous conditions, as well as the potential intruder or any threat to safety."
Norwalk's District School Safety Committee says ensuring safety in the schools is an ongoing commitment throughout the school year.