A few months ago, my students experienced their first fire drills while I was away at a conference. There had been an electrical short in some wires in the building, which set off the alarms. I heard from my students that the alarms went off a couple of times that day, and so they quickly became accustomed to the, well, drill.
During our morning math block today, which is during the primary classrooms’ lunch time. When I first heard the alarms, I wasn’t quite sure what they were, because it was just a low buzzing sound. Then I realised it was a fire alarm and my students quickly got up, lined up at the door, and then walked down the hall and out the building to the sidewalk where they know they are supposed to go and wait.
After a few minutes, we were able to enter the building and return to work.
Or so we thought.
Less than five minutes after we re-entered the building, the fire alarm went off again. Some of my students were less than amenable to the repeat alarm, but they still followed the routine: quickly lined up, exited the building, and lined up along the sidewalk to wait for the all-clear sign.
The double fire drill off-set plans for the morning and the afternoon, including our regular lunch time. Fortunately, the students were able to get their full lunch break, including the recess period. Before going to lunch, I led the students in a discussion on the importance of responding to any kind of disaster drill. The one point I really wanted to drive home was that it is critical that we all treat every alarm as if it is the “real” thing. Just because we don’t see or smell smoke is no indication that there is not a fire.
For the first fire drill of the year (at least for me), I think that my class (and every class in the building) did a great job!