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Safety Solutions

Three Considerations When Planning Your Next Fire Drill

Posted by John Baker on Sep 6, 2016 10:39:39 AM

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Fire drills are as much a part of  school culture as gym class and #2 pencils.  However that is not always a good thing.  Sometimes the things we do the most often become routine and eventually ineffective.  Here are few things to consider when conducting your next school fire drill.

1.  Mix it up.  Don't be afraid to block the traditional exits.  Have a support staff member stand in a doorway and redirect people and challenge them to find alternative ways out. You do not need to terrorize anyone while mixing it up, there is little value in that, but causing them to think about alternative exits is a valuable exercise.

2.  Remind them it is about more than just fire.  Thankfully we haven't lost a staff member or student to a school fire in the U.S. since Chicago 1958.  However, there are many reasons to evacuate a school building.  Consider HAZMAT, structural failure, utility outage or a violent intruder.  Consider making your monthly drill an evacuation drill and not just a fire drill.  Before the drill begins describe a different scenario each month so the staff and students understand there is more than one reason to evacuate a school.

3.  Rally Points.  Now every school principal loves to see all their students lined up in front of the school like an army battalion. While it is effecient it is not very practical.  The reality is when schools evacuate staff and students are fleeing from all exits and gathering in groups around the perimeter.  Consider developing a series of rally points on the school campus (one on each side of the building) where staff and students quickly gather for care and accountability.  Have a few runners take a lap around the building to complete student accountability and within a few minutes you can have attendance taken and know that you have performed a much more realistic drill.

In today's world we owe it to our staff and students to come up with realistic scenarios that will help keep them safe and teach them a valualbe life skill that will carry them far beyond their years in school.  This is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com.  Love to talk with you about this blog.  email or call.


Topics: School Safety

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