2019 Evacuation Exercise

The City of Puyallup and the Puyallup School District (PSD) together coordinated a full-scale evacuation exercise of schools and other public facilities located in the lahar impact area. The exercise took place on May 17, 2019.

This exercise was designed to test and improve the City’s and the PSD’s abilities to evacuate students and staff in the event of an incoming lahar from Mount Rainier. All plans and procedures emphasize the safety of the 8,000 students and staff who participated.

During the exercise, the City’s Emergency Operations Center was activated to assure the safe movement of students and staff from 20 facilities, receive communications from the field, and coordinate resources with multiple partners. All exercise activities were documented and evaluated to determine if any plans warrant modification and to address any issues of concern as they relate to an actual lahar.

Volcano evac route sign

Exercise Objectives

1. Provide for the safety and accountability of all participants and responders throughout the drill

2. Evacuate all participating Puyallup School District and private schools (students and staff), as well as City of Puyallup staff, on foot to their designated assembly areas

3. Maintain traffic control and safe travels for all students, school staff, and participating City of Puyallup staff

4. Set up and operate Central Pierce Fire & Rescue District Operations Center and dispatch Central Pierce Fire & Rescue apparatus via appropriate methods

5. Utilize small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) to monitor the evacuation and movement of students and staff to their designated assembly areas


The following agencies and jurisdictions participated in the planning effort:

  • City of Puyallup Police Department
  • Puyallup School District
  • City of Puyallup Emergency Management
  • City of Puyallup Public Works Department
  • Central Pierce Fire and Rescue
  • Orting Valley Fire and Rescue
  • Washington State Military Division Department of Emergency Management
  • Pierce County Department of Emergency Management
  • Washington State Fair
  • City of Orting Police Department
  • Pierce County Type 3 All Hazards Incident Management Team