RACHEL, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Department of Homeland Security and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department are teaming up with the Marion County Board of Education to make sure schools are prepared for emergency situations.

During the collaboration officers, first responders and administrators are going into every school to conduct a safety sweep survey.

While in the schools, officers are finding the best entry points in case they ever have to breach a locked down school, and teachers are learning what doors can’t be propped open in case of a fire and completing a checklist of safety protocols. They are also looking at the layout of the school and are making sure that every room is numbered so first responders can be directed to an exact location of an emergency.

Jim Riffle, Marion County Sherriff, is focused on the safety of the schools that students will be returning to here shortly. He said, “we would hope that the parents would see this as a concentrated effort to ensure their kids’ safety. Don’t be alarmed if you were to have to drop your kids off at school this upcoming year and there would be a large police or fire or medical presence there, it’s just part of the process, and it’s gonna take some time.”

The goal is to make a consistent plan if something were to ever happen in the schools.

“We take it very seriously, their safety and security,” Superintendent Donna Hage said. “We’ve had some situations in this previous year where things were brought into our county and our schools, had to respond, our campuses had to respond, and so we were blessed to have that forward-thinking, that training and we want to just enhance that further and put an additional layer on it.”

After the safety survey sweeps, the board plans to look into grant opportunities to make the schools even safer.

Waston Elementary School (WBOY Image)

“We’re kind of looking at a different approach from an ID standpoint and then as well as how well we can secure the multiple doors in the areas of our schools. That’s kind of first in the forefront,” said Andy Neptune, Marion County Board of Education Administrative assistant.

The Board of Education plans to survey every school in the county. As of Aug. 5, it has completed Waston Elementary, White Hall Elementary, and North Marion High School. They will continue surveying schools throughout the school year.