Roanoke City Public Schools prepares for emergency situations

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- Roanoke City Public Schools is preparing to handle worst-case scenarios.

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Teachers and staff used Friday's day off for students as an opportunity to practice addressing emergency situations.

They gathered at the Berglund Center, the designated location where parents and their children will be reunited in the event of an actual emergency at city schools.

In the event of an emergency, any parent’s first reaction is to panic, but the school division is asking parents to do just the opposite.

“It’s important for the community to have trust in the fact that we have competent adults that know what to do in the event of a crisis, to make sure that we get their most precious loved one back to them,” said Chris Perkins, Roanoke City Schools' Chief of Security.

The school system has a plan in place for all types of emergencies.

It is derived from experiences in Roanoke as well as tragedies in Virginia Beach and beyond.

“It’s a combination of many things that we’re learning from each time there’s an event throughout the country,” said Roanoke Emergency Management Battalion Chief Trevor Shannon.

The main focus of this year’s drill was how to more efficiently and safely reunite parents with their children at a central location, far from the actual tragedy.

Some staff members acted as distraught parents, while law enforcement and other staff members worked to ease their concerns and walk them through the verification process so they could pick up their kids.

“You may not be able to put your hands immediately on your child as quickly as you’d like to, but know that the administrators have your children safe until you can be reconnected,” said Roanoke Deputy Fire Chief Marci Stone.

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