District will hold full scale emergency preparedness exercise


Letter to from Principal Heather Leighton to Families

Dear Vista Families,

I am writing to you today to give you details about Operation Iron Viking our Full Scale Emergency Preparedness exercise that will be occurring next Thursday, October 12that Vista Middle School. Ferndale School District conducts emergency exercises annually in cooperation with our partner agencies to ensure that staff and students are prepared to respond effectively to unforeseen events or natural disasters.

Operation Iron Viking will consist of two separate but related pieces:

 In Part One, staff and students will participate in an assembly about what happens in emergency situations and how to communicate responsibly. This will be followed by a short lock down drill and a building evacuation drill.

After students have left campus, Part Two will begin with staff working to practice the Teacher Initiated Care System (TICS) to respond to life threatening injuries. While teachers are working in the Cafeteria and Library, First Responders from various Police Agencies will be conducting room searches and clearing the building after a simulated incident with a suspected intruder.

Three important pieces of information that will affect families:  1) Students will be released at 2:00 PM on the day of the exercise and busses will be running about 15 minutes early, 2) Parents that will pick up students need to arrive at 1:45, 3) No Afterschool activities are scheduled.

Attached please find an agenda with specific times and events that has been shared with staff and students. If you have unanswered questions about Operation Iron Viking, please contact the Vista Office at 360-383-9370.  If you want more information about our Safety Programs and Preparedness Activities, please contact our Assistant Superintendent for Business & Support Services Mark Deebach at 360.383.9203.

Media Release September 30, 2017

It’s no secret that Ferndale Schools has become a leader in preparing for school emergencies. This year will be no different.

On October 12, the district, in cooperation with the Ferndale Police Department, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Whatcom County Fire Department, and other partner agencies, will conduct a full scale emergency preparedness exercise at Vista Middle School.

This exercise is designed to build on the Teacher Initiated Care System (TICS) first aid training that the district conducted with the Vista staff last year. Staff are trained in basic field trauma care, which can be used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until the victim can be given medical attention by first responders and/or hospital medical professionals. It is part of the district’s ongoing commitment to provide the safest environment possible for our children and staff members.

In the spring of 2018, the district will conduct another exercise simulating an accident involving a school bus.

For more details on our emergency planning or any of our exercises, please visit our website at or contact Assistant Superintendent for Business & Support Services Mark Deebach at 360.383.9203,

Vista Middle School serves students in grades 6-8 with an approximate enrollment of 625. Ferndale schools educate 4,700 students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve.
For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at FerndaleSchools.

Strategic Commitment No. 6—To Ensure the Safety of Each Student and Staff Member
We believe that safety is a basic need and fundamental right of every person. A sense of safety is critical for learning and development to occur. Therefore, ensuring the physical, social and emotional safety of all our students and staff is an essential priority within our school system.

For more information contact:
Assistant Superintendent for Business & Support Services Mark Deebach, 360.383.9203,
Director of Communications Tammy Bengen, 360.383.9207,