It was only a test. The scenario was a chemical explosion in Hamilton High School's science lab, requiring evacuation of the entire student population and response by the area's emergency crews. The full-scale emergency drill Tuesday at 1 p.m. was conducted to test the school staff, local first responders and, of course, the kids. The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department set up their command unit at the school parking lot. Ambulances from Hamilton, Victor and Darby arrived to treat the "injuries," with one student airlifted by LifeFlight to the area hospitals. The evacuated students and teachers walked to the Ravalli County Fairgrounds Event Center, about four blocks away, where re-unification was conducted with selected families as part of the drill.

Hamilton High Principal Dan Kimsey said such drills have been regularly scheduled in the recent years. The exercises rotate through the Hamilton School District's schools, including Hamilton Middle School, Washington School and Daly Elementary School. Kimsey was pleased with the March 19th drill and said, "We're taking the safety and security of our students extremely seriously."

An "injured" student is transported to a waiting helicopter at the HHS parking lot. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)