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Valley schools partner with police and fire to train for emergency response

(Photo by Amy Phol)

PHOENIX — Chandler Unified and Kyrene Schools partnered with police and fire to train in emergency response.

Chandler Police and Fire said they pulled a meeting together a year ago, after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

They came up with a new program called School Emergency Response Team, or SERT, which is a one-day exercise on school safety, tactical operations and life-saving measures.

Kyrene School Superintendent Dr. Jan Vesely said many security measures for the school buildings are already in place.

“Our schools and buses are equipped with videos, surveillance cameras. Our front offices are designed with a protective wall of glass to prevent intrusion,” she said.

Staff members will also learn how to identify potential threats and defense tactics.

Chandler Assistant Fire Chief Scott Chapman said it’s important “to talk to the teachers, to talk to the administrators and make sure we’re on the same so if an event were to take place on campus, they know what to expect from us.”

He said training is ongoing, and he hopes that school personnel will be able to take their new skills and pass them on to new hires.

He said they’ve “got one of our firefighters who’s teaching a course inside the program on how to access a fire panel. Nobody taught me that when I was a schoolteacher.”

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