Day 33 (of 188) Earthquakes and fires and intruders, oh my! #bcedbloggers

Day 33 (of 188) Earthquakes and fires and intruders, oh my! #bcedbloggers

Drill week! Always a good ‘test’ to identify some anxieties in learners that may be ‘under our radar’. But also a good time to talk about why we do some of the emergency drills that we do!

Fire! How often is a fire drill real? Not often at all. Thankfully. But it’s always good to practice how to get out of the school safely, and quickly. But fires never start at convenient times. The best example happened to a friend of mine when a Christmas Door Decorating Contest went awry – paper got hot, turned into flames and the school evacuated with the mantra ‘be quick’. This was in winter….when it was cold…..and snowy. This led to a re-visioning of how to do our fire drills (with the support and approval of the fire chief) to evacuate Safely first – be dressed for the weather – if it takes an extra minute or two to get the appropriate coat on, take the time – unless the fire is ‘right there’ of course. We learned a lot – while many want to do a fire drill to “teach the kids who don’t wear their shoes a lesson”, the reality is if you of cis on ‘speed’, you may be out in the cold for a long time – even working quickly it took half-an-hour to clear a part of the school for the kids to come in from the cold. Be smart when evacuating a school.

Earthquake! Why do an earthquake drill when we don’t live on a fault line” is a question I am frequently asked. To a point, I agree….why take the 2-5 minutes to practice for the rare chance an earthquake could strike the interior of BC. BUT we don’t always stay in our little community. There are times when we actually travel to areas where earthquakes are more likely (though still rare) and again, it is better to be safe than sorry! After all, the lessons I once learned including “stand in a doorframe” are no longer appropriate – drop (stay low) cover (under a table is best) and hold on (for the duration of the shaking PLUS another 60 seconds)

Intruder! To round out the week we did a “lock down” drill. Of the three, probably the one that should be used more often than it is. There have been times when agitated parents (and the occasional fistfight) probably warranted a ‘lock down’ to help minimize witnesses, but timing is key; it’s hard to call a lockdown when you are in the middle of de-escalating the event you would want a lockdown for…! My favourite lockdown (yes it is possible) was when we had a mama moose on one side of a fence and it’s baby on the other!

Why do we do drills? I don’t care about “how fast” or “how accurate” we were. I want to know what we “missed”. The TOCs without keys who can’t lock the classroom doors in a lockdown. Uncertainty on where to send an attendance note. I want our practices to tell us what we are missing/forgetting rather than what we are doing well – or better yet, a descriptive blend of both – c’mon I had to get in a connection to formative assessment in here – even if it is just a ‘drill practice’!


About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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One Response to Day 33 (of 188) Earthquakes and fires and intruders, oh my! #bcedbloggers

  1. silkeyardley says:

    Hi Ian! Great blog! We just did our drill and we will be doing a redo! I agree…it is important to see how the drill goes and to make sure the perfect practice makes perfect when there is the time where we may have to evacuate. Good for you to do them all in a week, have never done that before!

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