Puyallup students will participate in lahar drill
Puyallup students will participate in lahar drill
Posted on 05/03/2019
Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier provides Puyallup residents and visitors with an incredible backdrop for daily living. On clear days, many of us find ways to marvel at the site of OUR snowcapped mountain. We look forward to days when “the mountain is out.”

However, the mountain also has the capacity to devastate. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reminds us, “The greatest hazard from Mount Rainier is from lahars, also known as volcanic mudflows or debris flows.”

In the Puyallup School District, we are committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. Working closely with national, state, and local safety officials such as fire, police, Pierce County Emergency Management and public health officials, our goal is to ensure Puyallup schools are well prepared in the event of an emergency – including a lahar.

Safety and security is our top priority. Each school regularly conducts drills throughout the school year to help students and staff prepare for possible emergencies.

On Friday, May 17, Puyallup students and staff will practice walking their designated emergency evacuation routes from the valley floor out of the lahar hazard area. During a lahar, the goal is to get to higher land. For this reason, this drill will only impact the schools in the Puyallup valley.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. students and staff from Puyallup High School, Walker High School, Aylen and Kalles junior highs, Karshner, Maplewood, Meeker, Stewart, Spinning, and Shaw Road elementaries, and the Advance and Summit programs will walk to designated assembly points before turning back to return to their school.

In the event this was a real emergency, students would continue along their assigned evacuation routes to specified collection locations. This exercise is restricted to schools, school facilities, and city staff. The general public will not participate, and the lahar warning sirens will not activate. As indicated on the map, the schools sited outside of the lahar hazard area will not evacuate. In a real emergency, these schools would serve as collection locations for students evacuating from the hazard area.

We ask that everyone be patient as the students practice walking their evacuation routes. Student safety will be the highest priority, and the groups will be kept off main roads and carefully guided at railroad crossings and various traffic control points. Each student body will be accompanied by a law enforcement officer in addition to teachers, school staff, and volunteers.

The exercise is expected to last about one hour.

For questions about your school, contact building principals.
For questions about the district partnerships with other agencies, contact Director of Student Services, Char Krause at 253-435-6515.

​Dr. Brian Fox

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