Southwick classrooms to soon have 'Go Bags' for emergency situat - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Southwick classrooms to soon have 'Go Bags' for emergency situations

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

The Parkland tragedy has many local school districts re-evaluating their own emergency response programs and training.

The Southwick Regional School District just received a $50,000 grant to boost it's lock-down procedures, including what's called 'Go Bags' for every classroom.   

They're emergency-preparedness bags packed in advance, in the hopes that they'll never be needed.

The $50,000 grant means every room in every Southwick schools - 200 rooms total - will soon have what's called a 'Go Bag.'

Southwick resource office Michael Taggart told Western Mass News that each bag will include things like water, toilet paper, as well as an item that can be used as a compression bandage, as well as a compression tourniquet.

First aid, anything in case a group is stuck in a classroom, closet, or other room during the worse case scenario - an active shooter.

However, also for natural disasters and other emergencies.

"So, a 'Go Bag' has essential needs if you're in a room for a long time, as well as emergency medical care, as well as ways to keep yourself safe in that room or exit that room in a different fashion from the door," Taggart explained.

Taggart would not, for safety reasons, tell us everything that will go into the bag. 

"There's certain things that we have in our protocol, certain things that will go into the 'Go Bags' that are going to be for our information only.  We don't want to tip our hand to anybody," Taggart added.

However, he said that all staff will be trained on the contents.  The grant will also fund a new emergency blue light system. 

Placed in front of the school, the blue flashing light will also send a loud audible warning to visitors not to enter the building.  

"We're doing everything in this school district to keep your kids safe.  Anything we can, we will.  We care about these kids like they're our own," Taggart said.

Taggart hopes to have the bags and the blue light in place by the end of the school year. 

The grant was secured by state representative Nicholas Boldyga.  It will also fund special 'Go Bags' for nurses and a family re-unification program, bringing students together with their families more efficiently and safely following an evacuation or emergency.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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