Are you aware of your school’s building and fire safety procedures during active assailant events?
We’re you ever in school and a student pulled the fire alarm switch? Just for fun?
I sure remember those kids getting in BIG trouble. Well, in addition to just being a pain and causing a ruckus, this action can be very dangerous.
School staff have also used it to alert students of a breech in security.
This practice has proven to be counterproductive and dangerous.
What if a fire did break out during an active assailant situation? Do we leave the building or shelter in place?
These are important questions that need clear answers.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Parkland, Florida, proves how much confusion can occur when the fire alarm is tripped during an attack.
In this case, actual smoke tripped the alarm. Students and teachers were confused about whether or not to leave the building and went into hallways and other areas where they were at risk.
Setting off a fire alarm during an active assailant situation will put more students in harm’s way. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it hampers first responders ability to mitigate an active shooter situation.
Experts report that having a solid Incident/Emergency alarm and mass notification system in place is essential.
Cloud based systems can be engaged on any computer or mobile device and send notifications to alert first responders. Having a means of mass communication is a must to clear up confusion about what is really occurring in the moment.
The International Fire Chief’s Association recommends holding a discussion around this issue with school administrators, teachers, law enforcement and code officials.
These discussions should include:
- Ensuring that plans address the response to fire alarms when lockdown has been initiated
- Ensuring mass communication methods in place
- Ensuring accurate information to first responders
- Developing training that discusses when classrooms should be evacuated due to smoke or fire with our without the presence of an assailant
- Developing alternate means of evacuation.
Fire alarms cause us all to do something. We just have to know what that something is.
At Shelter Shutters, we are passionate about the safety of our students. Having Shelter Shutters window coverings on classroom doors has proven to provide another layer of safety in our schools.
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