Fire Drill Preschool

Fire Drill! Fire Drill!

Allan MorrisonCurriculum

And the stop watches are running. Seconds count!
Tick…tick… There’s no warning. Once per month on random dates and times we do fire drills. Ms. Ashley and Ms. Eunice, Director and Assistant Director, are strict timekeepers and observers , taking notes as needed for later review.
Tick…tick… Infants obviously have a different procedure to the older kids. Up to four infants are gathered and placed in evacuation cribs. Sometimes two may be gathered in the arms of the teachers. Tick… tick… Complete calm. Yet concentrated focused calm. The teachers know their roles and perform them deliberately and without rush. Fire and rush do not go together well. The children know something is happening but as there is no drama or alarm, they themselves are happy and calm. The children feed off their teachers’ emotions. Calm teachers walking – not running! – quietly performing their duties and talking with their charges is something to see. Lead teachers take their binders (which, among other things, include names and contact details of all children present or visiting) and grab their evacuation kit(s) (first aid, water, food supplies, formula, wipes, diapers, sunscreen, gloves etc.).
Fire Drill in Infants room
Infants room fire drill
Tick … tick … All the infants are in their cots, holding a hand or in their teachers’ arms… tick…tick… and once all are assembled by the door and accounted for the emergency exit is opened and our little wagon train exits the building to the designated zone outside. Again the child and teacher count is done. All present and accounted for! Stopwatch stops!
It’s 1 min 53 seconds! It’s a good time. ScuttleBugs is a Class A facility and so we strive to better the three minute evacuation requirement. Every time. And by a long way. And always calmly.
In the older kids’ classrooms we see the pattern repeated: Our Mama Bear teachers (and Papa Bear Mr. Isaac in Infants!) protecting the kids and taking this drill very seriously. Again we see professional, calm, orderly, caring teachers going through a process, each performing their tasks with constant verbal relay of information as they successfully follow the procedures. Obviously with the older (i.e. mobile) children the procedure is aimed at gathering them as a group, again counting and checking before the class leaves the building then moving outside for a further check that all are accounted for. We count the children, teachers (and yes, even parents if they happen to be onsite or visitors).
Toddlers class fire dream
preschool fire drill
The older kids bring smiles to our faces even at these times. Some have done these drills dozens of times. They understand the drills have a purpose and they have their own parts to play. They’re used to the alarms sounding or lights flashing. Actually, quite excited to play an important part and be responsible! They gather as a group immediately and await their next instructions. And the newer kids, for whom this is a new experience, happily follow, and learn from, their peers. The kids learning the drills, the fact that they are important and that remaining calm is the way to handle such situations? Valuable teaching moments all.
What about the gym? Or the toilets?Yes we are on that. But so might be some of the children, or us - literally! Certain team members are delegated to check specific areas before exiting themselves. – another two eye check process. And as a final check in the event of a real fire, Ms. Ashley and Ms. Eunice each do a final sweep through their designated rooms. What about non-teaching staff? That would be Ms. Joana, our cook. Her duties include shutting off the building gas supply and then exiting with our emergency evacuation box that is readily available by our front door.
This week’s drill was timed to coincide with the arrival of some new teachers and we will follow up at our next staff meeting to review the results and hear comments and suggestions from all. Perhaps we can learn something from our new teachers. We are always open to ideas. Either way we want to ensure we all think about this important safety drill and how we might improve it.
Fire Drill Preschool
The security of our children is our #1 priority. ScuttleBugs was designed so each classroom has its own dedicated emergency exit and designated meeting point depending on drill type (fire/earthquake/lockdown). We keep records which are inspected annually by the Fire Department, Licensing, our security monitors and/or other affiliated OSHA organizations. They also do rigorous facility checks from time to time. Yes, our kids love the Fire Department as much as we do: they sometimes visit with a fire engine and you can imagine how much the kids’ enjoy that! (So do our owners!) And the firemen and firewomen too! We aim for the total safety of all children and staff at ScuttleBugs. We will continue to do our drills and review our processes but hope and pray we never need to use them for real.
As mentioned, we also do earthquake drills and will blog on this topic soon.
Note: At an upcoming Open House we will have an opportunity for parents, existing and new, to review your home fire extinguishers. In the week leading up to and at the event itself ….Gerboth will accept your fire extinguishers for servicing, or recycling and they will also have new or reconditioned ones for sale. Stay tuned and we will advise on this very shortly but it would be a good chance to get everything up to date for your home systems and the Winter.