The Ely Times

If you noticed a significant amount of emergency responders and sheriff deputies around the White Pine Middle School last week, don’t worry, it was only a drill.

A bomb threat was the focus of the mock disaster, and it was held at both the White Pine Middle School and Steptoe Valley High since the schools are only a block apart from each other.   

The annual simulation involves coordination between the White Pine County School District and multiple external public safety and health agencies.  Superintendent for the White Pine County School District, Adam Young said, “Students and staff, along with emergency personnel, practiced district evacuation, reunification, and communication procedures.”

City Fire Chief Ross Rivera said these exercises have been taking place for several years.  “Over the years, we have had a mock disaster for a chemical spill, active shooter, tabletop exercises, which are discussion-based sessions where team members meet in an informal, classroom setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation. 

“A facilitator guides participants through a discussion of one or more scenarios.”

The focus of the exercise was to ensure that when an evacuation takes place students are released to the proper parents, specifically when there are specifics to what parent is allowed to pick up a student. School staff checked the photo IDs of the adults and cross-referenced names with pick-up permission lists.

“These mock disaster drills unfortunately have become a necessity in all schools across the nation. I appreciate the cooperation and working relationship we have with the School District, school board, principals, teachers and the committees that help put these drill together. I also appreciate the  time that Sheriff’s Office Deputies along with Fire and EMS organizations that work together  to coordinate the emergency response to these drills.” Sheriff Scott Henriod said.

Under Nevada Revised Statute 392.616 a development committee had to be established for each school district. The committee is apprised of an administrator of the school, a licensed teacher, a parent or legal guardian, law enforcement agency, and several other personnel from various governmental agencies. 

“The district sincerely appreciates the community members, law enforcement and fire professionals and volunteers, community members, and families who continue to support our students and staff in attaining a safe and secure environment.” Young said.

White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod said, “It’s something you pray will never happen in our community, but you must be prepared if it ever did.”