ILION – Last week, Lowe’s Home Improvement, in Herkimer, donated 200 5-gallon buckets and lids to the Central Valley School District as part of the district’s emergency preparedness efforts.
The buckets will be filled with water, snacks, wipes, toilet paper and other emergency supplies that could be of use in an extended lockdown or weather event, said Central Valley Superintendent Jeremy Rich. One bucket will be placed in each school classroom of all four of the districts buildings.
“New York State recommends placing a 5-gallon bucket in each classroom to store basic supplies to comfort students in an emergency,” Rich said. “In extended situations, the buckets can even double as a toilet.” Hence the inclusion of toilet paper.
The donation came after Herkimer BOCES School Safety Advisor James Garcia approached Lowe’s about assisting schools by providing the buckets. Lowe’s agreed. On Nov. 7, Central Valley staff picked up the buckets and lids, valued at more than $1,000, from the store and delivered them to the high school, where they currently await filling and disbursement.
Rich said the district is currently brainstorming ways to collect the supplies needed to fill the buckets. Early ideas include inviting assistance from PTOs, parents and other community members at the elementary school level, and the student Key Clubs and Student Councils of the middle and high schools, he said.
“Filling the buckets is a good problem to have,” Rich said. “This focuses us on the task and serves as a reminder that we all have a role to play when it comes to our children’s safety.”
There has not been a need to use a bucket of supplies within the district thus far, Rich said.
“However, if we have them, maybe they will be used during any lockdown drill because the buckets are there,” He said. “They could be used during any emergency situation (such as) weather.”
In addition to adding supply buckets to classrooms, district officials and school staff continually review safety and preparedness plans, have practice drills and complete safety training, Rich said, noting that all district secretaries recently completed “front desk training.”
“There’s constant reflection on what we can do better,” he said.