Elementary simulates tanker spill

Elementary simulates tanker spill
PASCO, Wash. --Pasco held its first mass evacuation drill today.

Students at Ruth Livingston Elementary were the guinea pigs.

When Michael Gaines dropped his step-son off at Livingston Elementary, he didn't know the school would be empty just 20 minutes later.

Pasco let parents know there would be a drill -- but wanted to keep some element of surprise.

"I didn't hear too much. I just heard that they were going to be practicing evacuations," Michael says.

And this was a major evacuation.

Livingston got the *simulated call of a tanker spill outside the building.
The school went into crisis mode.

Every single kid was immediately escorted out of the building and shuffled onto waiting school buses.
As fast as teachers could count heads, the buses whisked the kids to safety at Chiawana High School.

From start to finish -- the drill lasted just under two hours.

Even though this was just a simulation, reps from the Pasco School District say it's situations like these, that help them prepare for the future.

The district chose the scenario carefully.

"A tanker spill is something that's not frightening. Of course we didn't want to frighten neighbors and children with any kind of a violent scenario. So this is something that could actually happen," says Pasco Marketing Coordinator Leslee Caul.

Michael likes that the Pasco School District is taking proactive measures to keep his son Isaac safe.

"It's better to start practicing it step by step versus, 'Oh, we have to do this now?' So, you gotta start somewhere. And it's better to start with practice instead of an emergency situation and have mistakes happen," he says.

And with every drill and simulation--the district gets that much safer.

The district says it has another mass evacuation planned for sometime in the fall.

That one would simulate a scenario involving first responders.