MARQUETTE — At 10am Wednesday, the Marquette County Courthouse evacuated all 120 people that were inside.
Fortunately, today’s evacuation was only a drill. Marquette County Emergency Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach was on site to evaluate the drill’s procedure.
She wanted everyone out of the building and accounted for at the Saint Peters Cathedral parking lot within fifteen minutes of the alarm going off. Everyone was safely at the church parking lot within eleven minutes.
“It’s a rain or shine type of thing for us,” said Aaron Karlstrom, the facilities manager at the courthouse. “We didn’t cancel because of the rain because fires and other emergencies can occur at anytime. Marquette County appreciates the assistance from the Marquette City Fire Department, the Marquette City Police Department in trying to make this as realistic as possible.”
“This is pretty much routine for us,” said Schwalbach. “We work with the hospitals, the schools, and any businesses that want to be trained. We do this as a regular occurrence.”
Today’s fire drill took six to eight months to plan and execute. The next drill at the courthouse will be totally spontaneous.
“Since we hadn’t done it for a duration of time, we had everyone aware of this so that the judges could set their dockets accordingly, so that everyone could hear the audio sounds,” said Karlstrom. “In the future, we’ll probably just give a time frame within the month that we’re going to do something like this and try and keep it a little more reactionary in the future.”
“That’s the goal and that’s the plan,” said Schwalbach. “This one was just to show that they knew what to do, where to go, and the next one they’re not going to know when it’s gonna happen.”
The next planned emergency drill for the county takes place June 20th at Sawyer International Airport.