It at this time of the school year that I start contemplating the first fire drill of the year. Ideally, fire drills should be spur of the moment, unannounced and randomly staggered throughout the day and year. In reality, fire drills are often planned, spur of the moment, for sunny, relatively warm days, though an overcast, relatively warm (55 degrees or more) day will do. In other words, today is probably a good day for our first fire drill.
Today's drill (assuming it happens) will be semi-announced. Since 2001 we have chosen to warn the building occupants that the first one is coming just to avoid panic that might ensue so close to the 9/11 anniversary. So, during morning announcements, I will mention that a fire drill is coming and later in the day, pull the bells. The next 11 drills will be totally unannounced as is NYC protocol.
Do fire drills do any good? Absolutely! I admit to being a strong proponent of the fire drill. Knowing how to get out and away from the building is very important. When going on about a fire drill I am apt to bring up that day six years ago when Mike's school evacuated and ran for their lives. Or, our own school fire just two years ago which blackened just a single classroom. (Says something for 1941 construction techniques.) On that occasion, the reality of the even brought out the training from the drills and everyone got out and was kept safe.
Fire drills are supposed to be silent. I am not really concerned so much about that as long as everyone is getting out and staying with their teachers. Staying together is far more important. Given as these students were all brought up in the wake of the World Trade Center tragedy, they are a bit more cooperative then pre-9/11 kids. Unfortunately, it really does make a difference.
Now I think it is time to go to work and run a fire drill.