First responders train for chemical leak at Pueblo West High School

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PUEBLO WEST, Colo. (KKTV) - First responders have to be ready for anything, including a chemical or gas release in schools.

That’s what law enforcement officers were training for Wednesday at Pueblo West High School. Those organizations made sure they have the best plan of attack to protect the students.

First responders surrounded the high school treating this drill as a real-life situation. They were preparing to go in for an unknown chemical leak, and a possible explosion.

“If it, in fact, did ever happen, we want to be prepared for anything,” said Ed Smith, superintendent of schools for District 70.

The training started with the students being evacuated. Then law enforcement surrounded and entered the building. The entire scenario was built around a chemistry experiment gone wrong.

“It didn’t go so well, so there was some sort of gas leak, and because of that, there were kids and staff injured -- of course, only in this scenario,” Smith said.

Deputies wearing gas masks walked through the building clearing it room by room.

“It gave law enforcement their training on clearing the building and making sure there were no immediate threats,” said Brad Davidson, a division chief for Pueblo West Fire.

Some students acted sick, and firefighters worked on treating them. They were holding up signs that read their symptoms.

“It gave the fire department training as hazardous material response, triage response, and getting kids decontaminated and getting them transported to a possible hospital,” Davidson said.

Overall, law enforcement and fire say the drill was a success.

“It brings in training we don’t do all the time like hazardous material. We do train on that yearly but not as heavily as fighting fires or doing our medical calls,” Davidson said.

Smith said the biggest takeaway for him is to improve communication to make sure he and the school are more prepared if anything like this happens.