Full-Scale Safety Exercise with Butler County Schools

Eleven Butler County school districts participated in a full-scale safety exercise on June 18 at the Ross Local High School and Middle School campus. This exercise simulated an active threat at a board meeting (taking place in the middle school) while numerous activities are occurring throughout the campus, including sporting events, conferences and athletic practices.

The safety exercise took place from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and involved nearly 200 participants. This is the first time in Butler County history that a safety exercise of this scope has been planned.

According to Katharine Clayton, Director of Public School Safety for the Butler County Educational Service
Center (BCESC), “This will be a complex, coordinated event involving multiple first responders, community
partners, county and state agencies, and participating school districts.”

The purpose of the full-scale safety exercise is to provide a hands-on or physical test to evaluate a school
district’s Emergency Operations Plan and the district’s emergency preparedness in handling this type of event.

Every district in Ohio is required to conduct at least one annual emergency management test as defined in the
Ohio Revised Code. A district can conduct a different type of test within a 3-year cycle, including a tabletop,
functional, or full-scale exercise. The exercise planned for June 18 will meet the requirements of mobilization
of personnel and equipment along with activating an Incident Command Post to coordinate all response
functions. This test will allow these participating districts to meet the requirements of the full-scale exercise:
Butler Tech, Edgewood, Fairfield, Hamilton, Lakota, Madison, Middletown, Monroe, New Miami, Ross and
Talawanda.

Participating agencies include: the Butler County Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency
Management Agency, Ross Township Police and Fire Departments, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan
Township Fire and EMS Department, Colerain Township Fire and EMS Department, UC-West Chester
Hospital, and Hamilton County Educational Service Center. The BCESC also invited numerous school
resource officers (SROs) from participating school districts to participate and observe. While these first
responders will not fully engage during the event, they will provide direction and support for the school districts.

After the completion of the safety exercise, participants, administrators, first responders and other individuals serving as evaluators will analyze the exercise to identify strengths and areas of improvement to enhance the districts’ Emergency Operations Plan.