"It's command and control and coordination. Working together with the school system to make them partners. They bring resources that we can use and we certainly bring resources to them that will make the outcome better in a school violence [situation], said Chief Denis McCarthy of the Norwalk Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management.
150 Norwalk teachers and staff from all 19 public school and private schools joined police and fire officials to take part in a district-wide "tabletop" safety discussion Thursday afternoon.
Chief McCarthy said, "We've developed an emergency guide that every teacher, ever staff person, and the Central Office will use in an emergency. [Today] we developed a scenario around a violent incident in the school where they used that guide and helped identify the best practices, because each school has it's own personality."
Deputy Chief David Wrinn of the Norwalk Police Department said, "[It's important] to actually get the teachers and the first responders in the same room; to actually interact. We can pass out as much information as we want back and forth but to actually get that information in a manner that is a question and answer type of thing, that's where the real value comes from. Also to have the various schools ask each other questions. Who comes up with a good plan, that's a good idea let's use that. We heard a lot of that today..."
During the day, teachers were to walk through the steps of the district's Emergency Preparation Guide based on four actions: Lockout, Lockdown, Evacuate and Shelter-in-Place.
"What happens in medical emergencies during another emergency and how do we deal with reunificiation That is what teachers and staff need to know, said Chief McCarthy.
"You really want to look at an all-hazards type of plan. A plan that will work for a variety of danergous situations; any kind of threat in the school. You don't want to lock yourself into one threat and just plan for one threat," added Deputy Chief Wrinn.
Officials say having teachers and safety personnel being on the same page is important when dealing with any emergency.
Deputy Chief Wrinn said, "We want people to know what the first responders expect of them and more importantly what do they expect of us. We want them to know what we are doing, why we set up a command post, why would we be going immediately in or setting up perimeters."
"We have advocated for a very robust, broad emergenyc team that includes everybody from the person calling 911 to the emergency responder to those folks on the emergency management team. If everybody plays their part, we have a much safer community and are more able to respond to any emergency," said Chief McCarthy.