Myths about school evacuations

Posted by on February 1, 2017

Often, we see an evacuation drill done in conjunction with a fire drill. These are simple, pull the alarm and everyone lines up outside and a head count is done. The problem with this approach is that staff may equate the term evacuation with that simple drill.

Evacuations can be quite complicated and to do them right you need to understand the possibilities and hopefully, you have created different options in your evacuation plan.

Option? Ask yourself what would happen is the alarm goes off and the normal route you take out of the building is blocked or is part of the danger (on fire for example?) What would happen if the alarm goes off and your class is at recess or lunch?

You see it is much more than simply going outside and counting kids. An effective and safe option is to know what routes are the safest for you and your students, which routes offer the best cover or even concealment along the way. Finally, you need to plan to continue your route if the initial point to go to is possibly compromised or potentially dangerous because of the situation at the school.

Here is an example, the modified lockdown signal is given to your school. You secure your student and then here the commotion in the main office. Looking outside you see your route of travel to your normal evacuation point goes right past the main office. Have you planned for a secondary path? Do you stay put? So many decisions and the answers can be impossible if you haven’t done some pre-planning.

So, with this idea in mind, I encourage you to look at your process and try to develop other options for yourself and students. If you have never considered these possibilities, then trying to do so under pressure is extremely difficult. But, if you’ve walked through (even in your head) a couple of options, you are a little better prepared to deal with such an event.

Stay safe and in the immortal words of Red Green, remember, I’m pulling for ya!



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