Out of the fire and into the field: fire drills at Mead High

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Blake LaVanchy

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Although they disrupt classes and are miserable in the Winter, fire drills train students and staff to evacuate the building efficiently which could save lives.

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Out of the fire and into the field: fire drills at Mead High

On December 4th, no more than 20 minutes after class had begun the fire alarm rang. Disgruntled students filtered onto the football field and waited in the bitter cold. Underdressed, and barely awake many students question the logic behind this early morning fire drills. But actually “the fire drill policy is based out of the school board policy which is based on state legislature policy,” says campus supervisor Penni Anderson.

But the school does have some control over the specifics, inside the rules outlined by the state. “We have absolutely no control over if we do a fire drill, we just have control over when we do them”

“During the school year, it is required to have one drill every month at random different times during the day to make sure that our fire drill system works and that we can get the kids out in a timely, safe way”. Ms. Anderson and Mr. Valette “go through the fire drills and we try to pick A-day, B-day, A-day, B-day, A-day, B-day but also block 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8”.

Also, the fire drills are meant to be a surprise, the teachers aren’t told because they “want you to react on an emergency type level”.

But really the fire drill is more about evacuation. “Yes it’s a fire drill, and yes the fire system is tested. But what I kinda like to think of is that the chances are far greater that we would be evacuating for a different reason than an actual fire…we could have a gas leak or a bomb-threat, things like that happen and so what we’re testing is how fast we can get kids out of this building” .

Fire drills prepare the school for the worst possible scenario, According to a government survey from 2009-2011, death resulting from a fire in a school building were rare. This is because fire prevention is built into the school from the very beginning. Fire codes dictate the number of doors that are required to be in a room, and fire and heat detectors are linked to a sprinkler system.