Berkeley County crisis team makes school safety top priority

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Even before news of a school shooting tragedy in Ohio was reported, Berkeley County school officials were at work reviewing their crisis plan. The crisis management team has made their training and procedures to keep your children safe a regular activity.

"You have to really look at your plan and know what you're going to do," said Berkeley County public information officer Kathie Sizemore.

From tornado drills to active shooter simulations, the Berkeley County crisis management team is making sure they're ready for anything.

"We're always taking efforts every day to make sure our kids are safe," said Sizemore. "Our crisis plan addresses certain types of scenarios like tornados, earthquakes, abductions and shooting situations."

Last year, the active shooter simulation played out at Cane Bay High School.

Sizemore says the simulations mirror a real life developing threat.

The simulations start with gaining as much information as they can about the situation at hand. On site resource officers on the more than 40 Berkeley County campuses are the first responders to the targeted threat before police are arrive at the scene.

"We work closely with our law enforcement agencies they come onto our campuses and act as the incident command post and basically at that point in time they take over the operation," said Sizemore.

To keep kids aware that things can happen anywhere and at any time, Sizemore says the simulations are very important especially after watching the incident develop in Ohio.

Police say a 17-year-old student opened fire inside an high school cafeteria injuring three students and leaving two dead.

Sizemore says to avoid that happening in Berkeley County students, teachers and administrators have to continue being proactive.

"I think the most important things for folks to recognize is that we can never predict every incident is unique," said Sizemore. "The most important element is communication. It really comes down to people letting us know if they see something out of sorts or hear something out of sorts and be those eyes and ears for us."

Charleston and Dorchester counties also have emergency safety plans to keep their students safe if the unthinkable were to happen on one of their campuses.

Since 1992, there have been six incidents classified as school shootings in South Carolina. The most recent was in 2010 at Socastee High School in Conway, SC.

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