Emergency lockdown ‘Barricade Buckets’ aid schools during threats

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Atrium Medical partners with Middletown district, police on safety project.

MIDDLETOWN —Some emergency supply buckets are headed to Middletown Schools thanks to a three-way partnership with the district, city police and Atrium Medical Center.

The specially designed “Barricade Buckets” are designed to aid students and staffers who are confined to classrooms during active shooter lockdowns, natural disasters or other school emergencies.

The donated, five-gallon buckets also double as a portable toilet as well as a container for a wide range of emergency medical and other supplies, said Middletown School officials during an unveiling of the buckets Wednesday at Atrium.

Items in the buckets will include things like medical emergency supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, gauze, gloves, band-aids, flashlights and snacks.

But more funds are needed to load up the buckets, said school officials who are seeking local business and individual donors to help cover the costs of placing buckets in every city classroom.

“The Barricade Buckets are a great addition to our district safety plan, by providing much needed resources to students and teachers in the event of an emergency situation where everyone must take shelter for an extended period of time,” said Middletown Schools’ Business Manager Eric Sotzing.

“The safety and security of students and staff is our first priority in emergency situations and the buckets will assist us in achieving that goal,” said Sotzing.

Mandi Alcorn, director of nursing at Atrium, said “during a natural disaster or lockdown situation, the last thing students should be worried about are their basic needs. We can proactively address those needs with these buckets.”

“The buckets could make a difficult situation a little more comfortable for students,” Alcorn said.

Along with the Atrium Medical Center Foundation and the Middletown Police, Middletown Schools is seeking support from the community for the Barricade Bucket Project.

Officials said phase one of the project aims to fund 72 buckets for Middletown Middle School. Phase two of the project would then fund 96 buckets for Middletown High School. If funding permits, phase three would then fund 297 buckets for the remaining city schools.

While the cost of one Barricade Bucket is $130, donations of any size are appreciated, said officials. So far, Atrium Medical Center employees have raised more than $2,000 to help kickstart the project.

Middletown Police Chief David Birk joined others at Atrium as they prepped the buckets for delivery to the city’s schools.

Birk said with the growing prevalence of violent threats against schools locally and nationally, such emergency supply buckets will be useful for students and school staffers during building lockdowns that confine them in classrooms or other school spaces.

“It’s an outstanding idea. Our top priority is to make sure the kids are safe. This gives the students and the teachers the ability to have these in every classroom. These buckets will be there in case they are needed,” said Birk.

To donate go to this fundraising website .

Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story.

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