Students improve emergency response and evacuation plan for school

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 2:07 PM CDT
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published April 14, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT - Updated April 14 at 6:48 PM on

JONESBORO, Ark. (Great Health Divide) - At Valley View High School, EAST students are hard at work improving their emergency response and evacuation plan. The students hope the updated plan can save a life in the future.

“It’s a very, almost warm feeling knowing that I’ve been able to make an impact on the school,” said senior Ella Layton.

Layton and sophomore Brandon Southard noticed their emergency route maps were hard to understand.

“One of the classes had been going the wrong way for like three or four years. They have been going the wrong way just because it was hard to read and it was confusing. It wasn’t very user-friendly,” said Southard.

The students got to work, putting hours into completely recreating tornado and fire routes.

“We took the time to make separate ones for each class, and they had bolded lines for that specific class on how to get out, and it was just much easier to read for the average human being,” said Southard.

With Arkansas’s frequent tornado and severe weather, the students say the improvements are needed now more than ever. They wanted to make the changes before it’s too late.

“It’s very rare that something bad like that is going to happen, but if you have the opportunity to save a life, that’s all you can ask for,” said Southard.

Their teacher, Ashlea McAlister, says she’s very proud.

“It’s been a very weird year, but it has not stopped them. They really were the ones who put all the ideas into action, made it solid, and a thing, so they did really good,” said McAlister.

The students’ accomplishments were even recognized by Mayor Harold Copenhaver and Fire Chief Kevin Miller. After seeing what they did at the high school, they now want the students to update each building’s plan on campus.

The students say it’s a big job that they’re more than happy to take on.

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