|Edwin L. "Bo" Wriston, Director|
Wirt County Office of Emergency Services
Often when an emergency or potential emergency happens, you hear only the bad... what went wrong. Sometimes however, it is nice to hear about everything that went RIGHT!
Earlier today, Wirt County Schools were put into a lockdown situation due to a bomb threat at Wirt County High School. At approximately 10:30AM, Wirt County High School was made aware of the threat, and immediately sprung into action.
Once a credible threat was identified, Wirt County High School immediately began evacuation procedures following established protocols. By 10:38AM, students were being evacuated, the Wirt County Board of Education has been notified, as well as Wood/Wirt 911, and the Middle School and Primary Center had been notified of the situation and placed in lockdown.
The Wirt County Sheriff's Office was toned by the Wood/Wirt 911 Center at 10:40AM, was on scene at 10:41AM, and immediately entered the building.
The Elizabeth/Wirt Volunteer Fire Department was toned at 10:42AM and was on scene at 10:47AM, immediately setting up a secure perimeter and shutting down all traffic in the vicinity of the High School.
Wirt County EMS was toned at 10:43AM and were on scene at 10:55AM providing additional scene security and medical support.
All students were entirely evacuated from Wirt County High School by approximately 10:40AM. School staff began a secondary sweep of every nook and cranny in the school to ensure all students were safely out of the building.
Roll call protocols were being implemented to ensure each and every student had made it safely to the evacuation site and were accounted for. At 10:45AM, the school system implemented it's reverse 911 call system to parents notifying them of the situation. By 10:50AM, the entire school has been swept, and all students were positively identified and accounted for at the evacuation site.
To sum up... within 20 minutes of the threat occurring, the school system had implemented protocols, had evacuated the high school, placed the other two schools on lockdown, had a full account of all students, had implemented parental notifications, and first responders were on scene securing the area to protect students and civilians.
To accomplish all of this in such a quick manner is tremendous.
I would like to publically thank and give three cheers to the Wirt County School system administration, faculty, staff, and teachers for their quick and efficient handling of the situation to ensuring the safety of the students.
Professionalism like what was clearly displayed today is hard to find, and it a testament to the dedication and love our educators have for our children.
Our First Responders from the Wirt County Sheriff's Office, the West Virginia State Police, Elizabeth/Wirt Volunteer Fire Department & Wirt County EMS were as always amazing in their tremendous response times, spot-on scene knowledge, and skills to help secure the area and provide assistance to the schools system, as well as parents.
Thanks also go out to utility providers who immediately dispatched technicians who were on scene ready to secure gas and electric if needed.
Lastly, a special thanks also goes out to volunteers who came to the Elizabeth Baptist Church to open the pantry and provide food and refreshments to the students during their evacuation. School service workers also prepared and provided lunch to the evacuation site.
By 2:20PM, the school has been cleared by an explosives detection canine from the West Virginia State Police, and students were allowed to return to school at approximately 2:35PM. Wirt County Middle School and Wirt County Primary Center were also taken off of lockdown at that time.
Wirt County is BLESSED. While today was scary, and potentially deadly, everyone involved from the students to school staff to First Responders did an amazing job! Kudos and a heart-felt thank you to all.