Staff Editorial: School safety drills could be more effective


Photo by Aparnna Manoj

Cover of the emergency procedure guide.

School drills are implemented to practice the importance of safety. Fires, school intruders and bad weather are all major concerns of schools, and therefore drills exist in order to equip students and staff with the knowledge on what to do in a traumatic event. However, the frequency and attitude toward the school drills make them less effective than they could be.

Safety drills are required by the state for every school, and the administrators schedule the drills ahead of time. By sending out emails, administration informs teachers of the scheduled drills. Often times, the teachers tell their students of the upcoming drill in order to work their class schedule around it, but this ruins the element of surprise. The prior notice of drills allows students and staff to mentally prepare for the drill. By having unexpected drills, the school would be able to experience a more realistic scenario, which will benefit the practice.

The attitude toward school drills are somewhat mixed. Some find it to be beneficial, while other students and teachers find the drills to be a nuisance when they occur during class. This adds to the ineffectiveness of the drills. If the attitude toward the drills changes, they could be more successful. By acting seriously and understanding the necessity for these drills, the administrators could improve the effectiveness of the drills..  

The most beneficial way to improve the effectiveness of the drills is to not inform the teachers and students when they will happen. This will give administrators a general idea on how the school reacts to situations such as fires, shootings and bad weather. By using the element of surprise, the students will be kept on their toes, which will help give them the sense of alertness they need to have in a real situation. Although the frequency of these drills are good for learning the routine, they do not determine how the students will react in a real situation.

A list of procedures included in the guide. Every teacher has this guide to ensure that they know what to in an emergency. This also includes the ‘safe’ and ‘need help’ signs needed to inform the administrators during fire or bad weather drills.

Safety drills try to ensure the safety of the students, but they are not executed in a way that benefits the students. For the safety of the students and staff, the administration should consider making small changes to their policies in order to make the safety drills more effective.