School Districts Undergo Intense Emergency Training

This fire scenario could come to life, and a team of teachers, principals, superintendents, as well as police and fire officials, have to quickly, yet safely decide what to do next.

This test is all part of a four day Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning For Schools workshop, conducted by the FEMA Emergency Management Institute.

"It's better to learn how to respond together before an emergency instead of during an emergency. We're trying to be proactive instead reactive," said Project Alert coordinator Cathy Garner.

During the training course, everyone sees what roles they are to play in school emergency situations, which can range from natural disasters to school shootings.

They are given the tools needed to develop effective emergency operation plans.

Even local emergency experts are participating in the workshop, so if ever needed, they will know how to effectively handle the situation.

"If the fire chiefs, police chiefs, administrators, are not supportive of this program, then there is going to be a gaping hole. So we have to get in there and we have to show them that we are serious about this, and one way to show that we are serious about this is to provide our expertise as fire chiefs, police chiefs, administrators, but to stand beside them, learn the same thing they are learning and to be there for questions," said Gulfport Fire Department Chief Pat Sullivan.

All this in the effort to make our schools even safer for our most precious resources.

The Harrison County School district, along with the Picayune School district, received grants from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen and update their emergency plans.