- 5/19/2013 Shepard designs dream room
- 5/19/2013 Sue Jolly Award will honor student Mock Trial Team member
- 5/19/2013 Anglican Church to host homeless meeting
- 5/19/2013 North Augusta bookings
- 5/19/2013 Suspect sought in theft of Walmart cell phones
- 5/19/2013 STEMfest exposes students to principles of science, technology
- 5/19/2013 North Augusta crime blotter
- 5/19/2013 North Augusta High School hosts 309 student runners
- 5/19/2013 Predators fall to Knights in walk-off fashion
- 5/12/2013 Predators stumble against Knights, face uphill battle
- 5/12/2013 Lady Predators have to win to stay in
- 5/12/2013 Phil Schaefer reflects on North Augusta history
- 5/12/2013 North Augusta golf team’s season ends in Sumter
- 5/12/2013 NAHS grad named SEC Men’s Golf Freshman of the Year
- 5/12/2013 World’s No. 1 disc golfer pays a visit to Hippodrome
- 5/19/2013 Column: Downtown developments: Vacations less and less important
- 5/19/2013 Wrinkles: Recognizing mothers and angels
- 5/19/2013 Phragments from Phyllis: A mother’s a mother for the rest of her life
- 5/19/2013 Letter: Bring the troops home from Afghanistan
- 5/19/2013 Column: New PASS exams intended to benefit student performance
- 5/19/2013 Chaplain's corner: In his hand
- 5/12/2013 Column: The best of both borders
- 5/12/2013 Chaplain’s Corner: A mother’s joy
- 5/12/2013 Downtown developments: Bad customer service, part two
- 5/12/2013 Letter: Riverkeeper is a benefit to North Augustans
SWAT team preplans in schools for emergencies
SWAT team members with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety roamed the halls of six schools Thursday, learning the entrances and exits, nooks and crannies, to better prepare themselves should they have to respond to an emergency situation.
At North Augusta High School, for instance, team members talked with custodial staff to learn what doors remain locked at all times, which are unlocked, how to access the roof and familiarized themselves with the floor plan so that they can take that knowledge and plan for the unexpected.
"We are pinpointing strengths in security and weakness in security to prepare for the catastrophic event we hope never happens," said Lt. Tim Thornton.
The 21-member SWAT team was at North Augusta Elementary, Mossy Creek Elementary, Hammond Hill Elementary, Paul Knox Middle, North Augusta Middle and North Augusta High at different times throughout the day.
No school is the same. Each school has a different layout, which means the SWAT team has to craft a response plan specific to each school. The plan, for example, can assist them in knowing the best and quickest ways to identifying and isolating a threat to evacuating students and faculty.
It can be a challenge, according to Thornton, especially since the majority of the six schools were built before anyone had to worry about school security.
"We're encouraged about having the ability to get in here and pre-plan," he said. "Of course, we cannot plan for everything, prevent everything."
The exercise took place during winter break, so no students were inside the schools while the SWAT training was being conducted.
The SWAT team trains together once a month in various areas, like firearms, physicality and scenarios.
Public Safety Chief John Thomas said practicing and planning can shave seconds off emergency response and "seconds mean a lot to us."
The Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, where 20 students and six faculty members were fatally shot, is in everyone's mind, Thomas said, and North Augusta Public Safety wants to stay out in front and remain vigilant.
Thursday was the first day back at Sandy Hook for students and faculty.
"I can only imagine what the
parents and students are going through. Sadly, it can happen anywhere, anytime," Thomas said.