Camden schools hold evacuation drill


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, November 16, 2018

CAMDEN — The Camden County Schools held its first student evacuation drill last week.

Although the schools have held a number of emergency response drills in the past, this was the first where officials practiced evacuating students to an off-site location, according to Camden Schools Superintendent Joe Ferrell.

Ferrell said the drill went well. It  took place Nov. 7 and involved the evacuation of about 140 students from Camden Early College, which is located on the same campus as Camden County High School.

Students were evacuated to Camden Intermediate School, although it’s not actually a site the school district would use in an emergency, Ferrell said. He noted those sites are not disclosed for security reasons.

In the event of a emergency the school district would communicate to parents where they should go to pick up their children.

Camden Sheriff Rodney Meads said he thought the drill was a good idea. He said school resource officers and school staff handled most of the planning and execution but the sheriff’s office assisted with an escort from the early college to the intermediate school.

Mike Lawrence, school resource officer, said school officials always hope an emergency situation won’t arise at a school but it’s necessary to prepare for one.

“We have to practice these things,” Lawrence said.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office provided an escort for buses as students were evacuated from the school, according to Lawrence.

“It went very well,” Lawrence said of the practice evacuation.

Christian Overton, chairman of the Camden Board of Education, also was pleased with how the drill went, especially considering it was the first time the school district had conducted one.

“We take school safety very seriously,” Overton said.

Overton said he is glad Camden school resource officers plan to continue practicing evacuations and other emergency responses.

“We want to be just like police officers and firefighters, practicing everything that we might have to do in an emergency,” Overton said. “We always hope for the very best but we will prepare for the worst.”