Fire, Lockdown, Severe Weather, Tornado, Shelter-in-Place, and other Emergency Drills for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

While I know this is surely going to look different this year, as many are not even physically in school, for those of you who may be, here’s your topic!

Today (Sept 21 2020) we didn’t have a fire drill, but we had a real fire at my school.

It all started at 9:45 AM on a regular day. I was in English class at this time. We had a power surge which shut down the hallway lights (but not the classrooms), the PA system, the phone system, and the Wi-Fi. The emergency lights never turned on, so people had to use their phone flashlights to navigate. About 40 minutes later, there was a smell of smoke in the gym and some other areas, like the stairwell I went down. The smoke tripped a smoke detector in the air handling room, so the fire alarm then sounded and because the system was replaced a few months ago, no one knew what was going on. Everyone on the second floor was trying to find the stairwell, the hallway only being illuminated by the strobes flashing. After everyone had evacuated, we were then told that it was NOT a drill (as we can’t have one at this time until the new schedules are finalized). The fire department showed up, with police and ambulance just in case. We were outside for 21 minutes, with the alarm still going off, and everyone wondering when we can go back in (as we had already entered 2nd block outside). Finally they shut them off and reset the panel, and we were given the all clear to go back in. The power was restored after 15 minutes, and later I asked the janitor what had happened. It turns out that when the power was surged, there was four times the amount of current going through the air handling unit, and a motor had burnt in the air-handling vent, which made a bunch of smoke go through and trip the alarm. Also, the annunciator panel said the alarm was activated somewhere else other than where it was really activated. We are set to have a drill soon this week too, but this obviously didn’t count as a drill as it was actually a real alarm.

Well, Chase, isn’t that just lovely. I’m guessing that the panel said the gym smoke was activated (since that’s what you said on our call)?

A bit less excitement on the other side of the border…

There was also a fire drill on Tuesday. (the one I previously mentioned was on Monday.)
Please note, the schedule below was accurate as of September 2020 and is outdated
There are 2 “groups”, only half of the students are onsite on any day.
Group 1 is onsite Mondays and Thursdays.
Group 2 is onsite Tuesdays and Fridays.
No students are onsite Wednesday.
Due to circumstances that I will not disclose publicly - do not ask, I am onsite for both schedule rotations.

I don’t know why but this reminds me of a Mr. Nightmare story on youtube.

Well, I’m all-virtual this year. However, I Zoom to my teachers in-school. There have been no drills yet, but we do have a situation called “Hold In Place.” It’s where everyone has to be in a classroom or bathroom. Normal classes continue throughout the HIP, because there is no imminent threat to the staff or students. These are quite routine, however. We usually have at least one to five every month. This kind of protection usually is caused by a medical emergency, a student acting out, a power outage, etc. For this reason, we do not have HIP drills. The AED alarm is also a “Hold In Place” indicator. Fire drills have continued as usual, though since I am all-virtual, I’m most likely not going to hear the harmony of the 892s, 757s, and the few genesis’ before I move on to High School. However, I’ll most likely visit during the (supposed) remodeling of the Middle School to claim some of the devices.

Another one.

YIKES! At least everyone was okay!