Costa schools to participate in Shelter-in-Place drill
Richmond and Martinez schools model sites for drill
children across Contra Costa will participate in the annual Countywide
All School Drill next week to practice how to Shelter-in-Place.
Washington Elementary School in Richmond participates regularly in the
drill, and students and staff have had to use their Shelter-in-Place
skills for refinery accidents, heavy smoke from an off-site fire and
police activity, said Washington Principal Roz Plishner.
“We’ve had the real thing and our children and our staff know what to do
because we have practiced how to Shelter-in-Place. We all take this very
seriously because we know how important it is to be ready,” Plishner
This year’s All School Drill will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3,
and all public and private schools, childcare centers and colleges in
Contra Costa are encouraged to participate. The event gives children and
their caregivers an important opportunity to practice responding to the
Community Warning System sirens, which sound an alert when there has
been a dangerous chemical release or other disaster that requires a
Last year, about 200 schools and daycare sites participated in the
drill, which is sponsored by the Contra Costa County Community Awareness
Emergency Response group (CAER), a public and private partnership funded
by industry, agencies and cities. CAER is made up of representatives of
government agencies, industry and community organizations that work
together to improve emergency response planning and to inform the public
about how to react in the event of a chemical emergency.
Washington Elementary in Richmond, which has 530 children, and St.
Catherine’s School in Martinez, a private school with 160 students, have
volunteered to be model school sites this year, said CAER Executive
Director Tony Semenza. The schools will get a special visit from CAER’s
Shelter-in-Place mascot, Wally Wise Guy the turtle.
“This is such an important drill because we face the very real
possibility of disasters, such as hazardous material accidents and
natural disasters. We must ensure that our residents, especially our
children and those who care for them, know how to respond correctly to
Shelter-in-Place alerts. We encourage everyone to join us in being
prepared” Semenza said.
St. Catherine’s participates in the drill every year, said Principal
Andrew von Haunalter.
“We've created a very safe environment here but because of our location
near a refinery and the county jail, we know we need to be prepared for
anything," von Haunalter said. “This is a way for our school to be
proactive about protecting our children.”
For more information about CAER’s All School Drill, call 925-313-9296 or
visit CAER’s website:
Public Health Educator/Risk Communicator
Contra Costa Health Services
925-313-6832, fax 925-313-6219
597 Center Avenue Suite 255
Martinez CA 94553
Visit our websites:
http://cchealth.org tambien en español