Schools must be prepared for any type of emergency and thus prepare their students as well. While no one ever expects something bad to happen, it is always better to be ready just in case. Schools are required to have a fire evacuation plan in place in case there should be a fire at the school.
When a fire occurs, no one knows where exactly that fire will be and which exits will be blocked. It is important to ensure that there are at least two exits from each classroom. Administrators should create a fire evacuation plan that clearly exhibits two ways to exit each classroom in the event of a fire. For instance, a first floor classroom can exit out the classroom door and out a building door or through the windows. Post these plans in each classroom and in any other room in the building. Put some in the hallways as well.
It is important for every class to have a meeting place so teachers can ensure that all students have made it out safely. Designate a separate area for each class. Teachers should instruct students where they should meet up with the rest of the class in case they are separated from the class at the time of evacuation. Create a system of cards with the teachers for quick determination if everyone is out. Instruct the teachers to hold up the green card if the whole class is accounted for. A red card should be held up if anyone is missing.
Ensure that teachers know what the fire alarm sounds like. Some schools have systems that emit a different tone or series of tones for each different kind of emergency. Teachers should be trained on which tones go with which emergencies. They must then ensure that their students understand the differences as well. It can help to hand out a laminated card that details what each tone or series of tones means for the students.
Having a good evacuation plan for the school in case of fire does not benefit anyone if it is not practiced. Hold fire drills randomly throughout the school year. Avoid telling teachers or students when to expect one to emulate a real emergency. Practice will help engrain the procedure in the children's heads and prepare them to be calm in an emergency. Elementary schools should hold monthly drills, while middle and high schools should have quarterly drills.
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images