During fire drills there are steps and procedures that are put into place to ensure the safety of students and adults, but what are the procedures when there is a fire drill and students are in the cafeteria?
“Definitely at lunch there’s a couple hundred students and probably five adults with the teachers on duty and the assistant principals in the area. So ultimately in a real fire or a fire drill in that situation everyone just needs to evacuate the building,” assistant principal Candace Pearson said. “Just get out of the building as quickly and as safely as possible, obviously if you see smoke or fire kind of in the direction you are walking even if it’s a longer path turn around and walk a different way to exit the building. Whether a teacher is with you or not, you just need to get out of the building and away from the building and then just pay attention to any instructions from the adults who are around, if you need to stay outside longer, if you need to go back in, if there’s something that changes, they’ll be giving instructions to everybody.”
The first order of business is to simply get students and adults out of the building, no matter where they may be located.
“We were just really confused because it was during the lunch period and we thought it was a fire drill, but then were like why would they do it during lunch? Everyone was coming out of the cafeteria and we eat outside so we were just sitting there. People were crazy because they were all running outside,” senior Megan Murase said.
When evacuating the school there is a certain point of distance that needs to be met to keep everyone safe.
“So if it was a situation, ultimately the canopy outside is a good point of reference where you need to be at least that far away from the building that you are beyond the canopy. Then if there was a real emergency situation where you needed to be evacuated further, what happened last week, the fire was contained and was put out very quickly it was more of an issue just waiting for the fire department to say it was safe to come back inside. But if I was an active, bigger fire we would open those gates and have everyone push out into the parking lot so they could be further away. Up here at the front of the school as long as they are on the other side of those cars right there that’s kind of the point where we would want people away from the building,” Pearson said.
One o f the most challenging pieces of evacuating the building when there is a real issue is students leaving campus. But overall the faculty’s main focus is to keep the students safe.
“It gets a little tricky as far as when there is a real emergency situation, our officers are involved, we are all involved and so we can’t necessarily station someone at an exit point in the parking lot to keep people from leaving. But if we find out that people have left during that time we deal with those students individually for leaving campus like any other time. But ultimately we just have to make sure that the building is safe and everybody” [is] “evacuated. If we can have somebody to stop students we would definitely do that but it kind of depends on the situation and looking at just the priorities,” Pearson said.