9-30-14: More than 5,500 students and staff practice safety in Lahar drill
9-30-14: More than 5,500 students and staff practice safety in Lahar drill
Posted on 09/30/2014

More than 5,500 students and staff from 10 schools in the Puyallup valley, as well as hundreds of parent volunteers, walked to higher ground on predetermined routes during a Lahar drill on September 30.


Students, many of them holding bright red “Lahar Drill” signs as they walked up hill, practiced how to quickly and efficiently move to a higher elevation that would be safe in the event of an actual Lahar. 


At Shaw Road Elementary, nearly 600 students and staff set out under sunny skies from the grass field behind the school at the 9:30 a.m. start time. The group walked west along 12th Avenue S.E. and then south up 25th Street S.E. before gathering at the top of the hill overlooking the valley.


Puyallup, Fife, and Orting police officers assisted with road closures throughout the valley and greeted students at many of their hilltop destinations.


"I am impressed with how the students and staff at all schools took this drill seriously," said Barb Pope, the Puyallup School District's director of student services. "While the chance of an actual Lahar is less than other natural disasters such as earthquakes, it is a threat nonetheless to the Puyallup valley with Mt. Rainier in our backyards."


Pope continued, "Not only do we prepare our students for such an event, we teach them to talk with their parents and other caregivers to educate them about their predertermined safe walking routes and meeting locations. We emphasize safety for life."


Participating schools included Puyallup and Walker high schools, Kalles and Aylen junior high schools, and Stewart, Spinning, Shaw Road, Meeker, Maplewood, and Karshner elementary schools.


Click here to view full slideshow