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False alarm triggers response at Hurley School


February 12, 2020


Hurley — An alarm to alert law enforcement of a lockdown situation at Hurley K-12 School was tripped accidentally on Tuesday, bringing agencies from Wisconsin and Michigan to the campus.

“We did not have a lockdown today,” said Kevin Genisot, the administrator for Hurley School District.

A technician was working with wiring and in the process had inadvertently tripped the “panic button” which sent an alert to the Iron County Sheriff’s Department that a lockdown situation was occurring on the campus at 10:26 a.m., he said.

The message was relayed to other area law enforcement as well. Eight officers from Ironwood and Hurley responded to the scene, he said.

“They were here within minutes,” Genisot said.

When the officers arrived it was apparent this was a very serious situation, he said. If it had been during lunch or between classes it could have been chaotic for staff and students.

Fortunately, most were in class for the duration of the call, he said.

“All of the police officers responding took the situation very seriously and were very appropriate in their response,” Genisot said.

Genisot met with officers in the school commons. Together they tried to find out who sent the alarm.

“Once we learned that they received an automated call we knew there were only a few ways that could happen,” Genisot said. “Once we eliminated the possible sources that led us right to the tech.”

Sheriff Paul Samardich said that law enforcement responded to the call accordingly. He said a false alarm is always better than having people at a school in a dangerous situation.

“This doesn’t happen often,” Samardich said.

In this situation it was fortunate that the responders were able to determine right away that it was a false alarm, he said.

“It was clear right away,” Samardich said.

The responding agencies train for these situations and every department, deputy and officer is prepared, he said. The agencies train for various alarms and everything worked the way it was supposed to work, he said.

“We have response plans and everybody has a role,” he said. “We are constantly reviewing our safety plans and so we will study this response.”

Genisot said the law enforcement vehicles responding with lights and sirens most certainly caused concern with the community. He explained what happened for parents with text messages and posted an explanation on the school’s website and Facebook page.


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