One minute the hallways at Chapman School in Anchor Point were empty. The next, with the fire buzzer going off loud and clear, the school came alive with students orderly and very quickly pouring out of their classrooms, into the hallways and out the door.
That was only the start of the excitement at Chapman on Tuesday. Principal Conrad Woodhead had added a dose of the real thing by coordinating the drill with responders from the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services, as well as the Alaska State Troopers. Just to be on the safe side, he also had alerted Kenai Peninsula Borough School District administrators, the school’s site council and the pre-kindergarten teacher of the drill. Eighth-grader Garrett Cooper, a member of the school’s student council, also knew of the drill and had been placed in a classroom, awaiting a rescue.
In short order, firefighters were on scene, dragging hose to the school door and searching the school for the missing student.
As they led Garrett into the open air, they were greeted by applause and cheers from the students assembled on the school’s playground.
“My thing is that I want to get these guys into the building more often,” said Woodhead.
“I think their presence and kids’ awareness of them is a healthy thing.”