Martins Ferry schools taking precautions

MARTINS FERRY – School shootings are unfortunately and all too common issue that today’s students and school administrators must deal with. Martins Ferry Schools, with help from Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corporation (better known as OVMC/EORH), have taken one more step toward ensuring the safety of students and staff.

OVHS&E has donated buckets of supplies for classrooms in all three of the schools at the Martins Ferry City School District’s complex on Ayers Limestone Road. The buckets are filled with items that would be useful in the case of an active shooter, including flashlights, first aid kits, heavy duty tape, hammers and lockdown devices to secure doors.

Martins Ferry faculty and staff have previously received ALICE training from the Martins Ferry Police Department. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. Those five words are key to handling an active shooter situation. Most of the items in the buckets apply to lockdown and counter, but Ayers Elementary School Principal Jim Fogle said the first priority is evacuation. The buckets are a secondary response.

Fogle went on to say that ALICE is “not a linear process.” The five words are meant to be applied accordingly to individual situations.

“The days are gone where you turn lights off and get under desks and wait,” he explained. “The key with ALICE is to inform and empower staff and students with options they never had before.”

“It’s just a start for them,” said Laurie Labishak, Vice President of Marketing at OVHS&E. “Hopefully, they’ll never have to use them, but in the event they do, they’ll have them.”

Superintendent Dirk Fitch thanked OVHS&E for their partnership.

Fogle explained some of the uses for items in the bucket. The hammer, for example, can be used to break windows to allow for easier evacuation, while the lockdown devices can be used to secure a room from the inside without opening the door.

ALICE has become a key component of safety training for many local schools, including West Liberty University, Barnesville Village Schools and the Toronto School District. Training includes live-scenario response situations and learning the options to ensure the best route to safety.

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