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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Ferndale stages emergency school shooter drill

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Operation Green Hornet responders prepare during active shooter drill. // Photo by Morgan Stilp-Allen

To prepare for the possibility of an active shooter, the Ferndale School District teamed up with 34 other agencies for an emergency simulation called Operation Green Hornet.

Operation Green Hornet is a drill created after six months of organization. Among those involved were Ferndale School District, city of Ferndale, Whatcom County Fire District Seven and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The drill lasted for four hours and took place at Horizon Middle School, Thursday, Oct. 13.

With school shootings increasing over the past years, constructing a safe escape such as Operation Green Hornet are “the realities facing our school today,” explained Scott Brittain, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning at Ferndale School District.

Ferndale School District initiated an Incident Command System, a standardized approach to control response during an emergency, during the drill.

“You never want to have a dangerous person in a school with our children. But it is gratifying to know that in a crisis like this, we have such a well prepared and comprehensive team of responders,” Ferndale’s Assistant Superintendent Mark Deebach said.

But it is gratifying to know that in a crisis like this, we have such a well prepared and comprehensive team of responders.”

Mark Deebach

The simulation began with a lockdown and a “hostile visitor” portraying an active shooter. All 450 students were then transported by bus to Ferndale High School, as would happen in the event of a real emergency situation.

The police department practiced conducting building clearing exercises as the students waited safely at Ferndale High School. Operation Green Hornet was created both for student preparation and partner agencies to practice responsiveness as well.

After evacuation, volunteers portraying injured students were brought to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and on-site medical personnel conducted standard procedures on other injured individuals.

The drill finished at 12:30 p.m. and was considered a success by volunteers and officials involved.

The Ferndale School District hopes to practice more such preparations in the future for larger schools such as Ferndale High School.

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