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How Often are Emergency Safety Drills Practiced in Schools?

Many schools practice tornado drills.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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Safety drills are routine procedures in schools at all levels from preschools to colleges. In most cases, government officials mandate the frequency and types of safety drills practiced. The types of safety drills practiced can vary by location, but some drills, such as fire drills, are routinely practiced at all schools regardless of location.

Fire drills are practiced in most schools quarterly each year. Fire is a small, but nonetheless potential, threat to any building and fire drills prepare the faculty and students for action in the event of a real fire. In the United States, most schools are subject by state law to practice fire drills a specific number of times and it is up to the administration to meet the requirements.

Other safety drills are also mandated by government, but may vary by location because of the varying threat of natural disaster. For instance, schools located in and near areas of the country that are prone to earthquakes practice earthquake drills while schools in other parts of the country do not. Similarly, areas prone to tornadoes practice tornado drills at varying intervals according to government regulation.

More recently, lockdown drills have also become routine safety drills mandated by state or local officials. Lockdown drills are safety drills that practice a plan of action should a potential act of violence threaten the school. Many schools now practice these drills at least once each year.

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Though the number of times safety drills must be executed in most schools is mandated, the administration may also elect to execute additional safety drills if they feel the school as a whole did not respond well to the building plan. If the administrators of a building feel more practice is needed, they can issue additional drills. Oftentimes, the staff, students and faculty are aware there will be a safety drill, but they are not given a time so that their response can be better gauged.

Safety drills are meant to be a method of preparing all occupants of a building or campus for safe action should an emergency situation arise. Though sometimes the procedure may be modified for improvement and the frequency may change, safety drills are an important part of emergency preparedness. If you have questions about the method or frequency of execution of safety drills at your or your child’s school, you can ask administrators for specific information pertaining to your district or campus.

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Discuss this Article

nextcorrea
Post 2

I have a friend that is a teacher and she has expressed concern to me that her school is not practicing enough emergency safety drills. According to her, the school year is so planned out and packed full these days that any interruption in the teaching day is considered a huge distraction.

Her theory is that they are avoiding fire and other safety drills because they are trying to cram as much test prep as they can into the time that they have. If this is in any way true that is terrible. They are playing fast and loose with children's lives in order to make themselves look good.

chivebasil
Post 1

I went to grade school in Kansas and we would pretty regularly practice tornado drills. These were pretty similar to fire drills, except instead of leaving the school you would go to the basement or the interior of the building and sit with your back to the wall and your head between your knees.

Thank God we never had a tornado but I understand why they prepared for this type of thing. You never know when nature will turn against you. The more prepared you are the more lives will be saved.

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