Snohomish County using new program to determine vulnerability of schools

by: John Knicely Updated:

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SEATTLE - As kids return to class, schools in Snohomish County are being graded on vulnerability to threats. 

 The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is using a new program to thoroughly dissect each school’s weak spots.

 The program was created by the National Disaster Preparedness Coalition in direct response to the Sandy Hook school massacre.  Snohomish County Deputy Bud McCurry brought the program to his department after working with the coalition on other projects.

 “It is very intense, it's comprehensive and it's an all-hazards approach,” said McCurry. 

He brings architects, contractors, and other professionals with him to perform the week-long assessments of each school campus.  They look at the vulnerability to any situation whether it’s an earthquake or a school shooting.

 One major focus is entry points to the buildings. That’s something Lakewood High School Principal Dale Leach is concerned about.

 “I can tell you what our problem is, 65 different doors, seven portables, two outbuildings,” said Leach. 

He’s working with McCurry on when his school will go through the program.

 The report gets down to every last detail including the make-up of the walls.

 “Well if you have a tactical situation where bullets are flying it's important to know what type of walls you have,” said McCurry.  “Is it drywall, cinder block, are bullets going to go through it?”

 The school gets the report and decides what to do about the risks.  School administrators can present it to the school board and legislators if extra funding is needed.  The reports are not made available to the public.