It Was Only A Drill

No cause for alarm.

Actually, there was an alarm, but it was on the calendar.

Warren County Courthouse personnel and visitors had to evacuate the building Tuesday afternoon.

Commissioner John Bortz called it a “regularly scheduled fire drill.”

The drill was coordinated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

“We usually do two a year,” Sheriff Ken Klakamp said. “We changed some things up… blocked a couple exits.”

Changes are intended to make sure employees know alternate escape routes and are comfortable with deviating from the plan.

“They did well,” Klakamp said.

Department heads made sure their employees got out and Fiscal Director Paul Pascuzzi was in charge of making sure all departments were accounted for outside the building.

“It went well,” Pascuzzi said. “In 10 or 15 minutes we were all back in the courthouse.”

Sheriff’s Office staff met with the county commissioners and Pascuzzi after the drill for a debriefing. After discussing the drill, Klakamp talked about his plan for a “tabletop evacuation” of Warren County Jail.

He said running through such a scenario on paper would help prepare the corrections staff for a possible evacuation.

“How would we do it?” Klakamp said. “Where would we get the resources?”

“It’s something we should do every two or three years,” he added.

A fire drill in which prisoners would be evacuated poses a number of security concerns, he said. The tabletop event would help prepare personnel without exposing the county to potential problems.