Everyone knows what to do. Line up single file and exit the building. Get under the desk. Move to the far side of the room away from the windows. Use textbooks as a shield for debris.
Emergency drills have long been a part of the elementary school, junior high and high school experience, to the point of cliché.
And, for many students, they even become a joke. However, recent events around the country are now getting students, educators and parents to take them more seriously.
In the last few weeks, a series of tornadoes have rocked the Midwest. The tornado in Moore, Okla. hit both Briarwood Elementary School and Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Seven students died as a result of the tornado.
Now this is an extreme example of a natural disaster, and all the drills in the world may not have saved those children due to the magnitude of the storm.
Time magazine reports that at Plaza Elementary School, teachers were prepared and were able to usher students into safer areas of the school and protect them.
Imagine how much worse things could have been if no one had been prepared.
No school is immune to natural disasters. If its not tornadoes, its earthquakes, flash floods and fires.
Schools need to be prepared and make sure to hold disaster drills often. Students need to be prepared, and need to know just what to do in case of an emergency.
Additionally, teachers should have extra training in these emergency situations, because once the disaster hits, they become the experts and the ones students look up to.
Schools should have extra disaster training for teachers, and help them become first aid certified and teach them any city or state disaster protocols and ordinances.
After Sandy Hook Elementary, school shootings and lockdowns have also been added to the list of drills.
States are now implementing new laws that require schools to go through lockdown drills designed to protect and keep children and adults in the building safe in an emergency situation such as the presence of a school shooter.
These could include:
• Closing and locking doors to classrooms.
• Students being moved to the safest part of the room, away from windows and doors, to the interior walls.
• Everyone dropping to the floor or out of the line of vision from the door.
• Window shades being pulled down.
• Covering any windows in doors to prevent an intruder from seeing into the room.
• Turning off classroom lights.
Ultimately, it all boils down to keeping children safe, and schools need to ensure that every safety precaution has been implemented