Emergency Management » Lahar Response Plan

Lahar Response Plan

We conduct emergency preparedness drills monthly in accordance with state law including fire drills, lockdown drills, earthquake and shelter-in-place drills. On March 21, 2024 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, we will join other regional school districts in a large-scale joint exercise that includes all area emergency management agencies. 
The East Pierce Interlocal Coalition Emergency Management Team, surrounding school districts, and partners are coordinated a full-scale lahar evacuation drill. The drill is designed to test and improve the ability to evacuate students and staff in the event of an incoming lahar from Mount Rainier.  All plans and procedures emphasize the safety of participants. 
Participating agencies and school districts:  

School Districts 


Emergency Agencies 

Sumner-Bonney Lake

City of Sumner

East Pierce Fire & Rescue


City of Bonney Lake

Central Pierce Fire & Rescue


City of Puyallup

Orting Valley Fire & Rescue

White River

City of Orting

Pierce County All Hazards Type III Incident Management Team


City of Buckley

Buckley Fire Department

Town of Carbonado

Buckley Police Department

Town of Wilkeson 

What does this mean for our students? Because our school is not in a designated evacuation area, we will only participate in the shelter-in-place portion of the exercise. 
  • Students will shelter in place by remaining at school inside their classroom
  • Teachers have the option to deliver lahar-related lessons and activities, sharing more about lahars and what to expect should we experience one
We will then return to normal operations while members of the district team coordinate with local first responders to ensure we have the systems in place to support evacuees in the event of an actual emergency.  The District office will be coordinating communications with local area emergency agencies. 
  • Mount Rainier is the highest peak in the Cascade Range
  • Most recent eruption was about 1,000 years ago
  • Debris flows (lahars) post the greatest hazard to people near Mount Rainier. A debris flow is a mixture of mud and rock debris that looks and behaves like flowing concrete.
  • There will be some indication that a volcano may erupt, but the time between the earliest indications of unrest and eruptive activity might be short, from days to weeks or months.
  • A “no-notice” or “short notice” lahar is possible, that is why the schools that are in the lahar hazard zone are practicing their walks to safety today.
  • The schools like ours, that are practicing our “sheltering in place” procedures, are doing so because a lahar will impact our entire region and our priority is making all our students and staff are safe and cared for until we are all reunited with our families.
  • We will be supported by first responders, fire and law personnel, at Emergency Operations Centers in Buckley, Bonney Lake, and Puyallup
  • We will be communicating with first responders over radios and cell phones during the exercise to practice how we would communicate in emergency situations
  • By practicing and working with the first responders in our communities, we will all be better prepared for emergencies
  • Be sure to talk with your family, neighbors, and community members about how you can all prepare for emergencies