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Fire Chief says ‘People over property’

New fire drill procedures

Students+filing+into+the+plateau+parking+lot+during+the+most+recent+fire+drill.
Students filing into the plateau parking lot during the most recent fire drill.

Students filing into the plateau parking lot during the most recent fire drill.

Megan Packard

Megan Packard

Students filing into the plateau parking lot during the most recent fire drill.

Morgan Torre and Megan Packard

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Fire drills depend on efficiency and organization. When the alarm goes off, everyone is expected to file out of the building as quickly and orderly as possible. The school seems to be doing better at each drill, according to Division Fire Chief Brian Johnson and House 1 Assistant Principal Mrs. Sloper.

“People know their responsibilities and the kiddos are doing great,” Sloper said. “They know where to go. But there’s always room for improvement with safety.”

Every month school is in session, including during summer school, there must be a fire drill. Since New Hampshire has varying weather patterns, the drills are allowed to be moved around, so there could technically be more than one fire drill in one month and none in another.

The areas around the school are assigned to specific administration or staff based on their office location. They are trying to clear out the building as fast as possible. Mrs. Holdsworth and Mrs. Sloper’s job is to clear out the 100s hallways and report to principal Mr. Parent and the fire department via walkie-talkie.

Students should be out in under two minutes and teachers account for them as quickly as possible once they are out of the school.

“Last time everyone made it out [of the building] in about a minute and a half,” said Division Fire Chief Brian Johnson. “That was pretty impressive.”

However, Sloper wants to see more efficiency during fire drills. At the last drill on April 11, Sloper and House 1 Secretary Mrs. Holdsworth attempted to introduce a system where teachers had their students line up behind them to make attendance easy.

“It worked out perfectly,” Holdsworth said. “Teachers were grouped better and we could finally tell the difference between teachers and students.”

Even one step further would be to give the teachers red and green cards indicating whether or not the classes are missing anyone. This would be a more visual way to take attendance and cut down the time it takes.

If students are reported missing, then firefighters search for those students before attending to the fire. The school’s and fire department’s main goal is to keep everyone safe, and they are constantly working on ways to improve. This new procedure is meant to help the students and staff first rather than the school itself.

“The school is just a building,” Johnson said. “Life is more valuable.”

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Fire Chief says ‘People over property’