The key to life safety in our Ashland schools is the management of good housekeeping, coupled with well-rehearsed exit drills. Ashland Fire & Rescue is dependent on the prompt exiting of all staff and students of our schools in order to achieve rapid fire control upon arrival of emergency personnel. We would like to share with you what we have learned over the years that is necessary to successfully manage school fire emergencies:
School staff members must be part of the solution, rather than an addition to the problem. Our young people will take their lead from us - we need to be motivated toward fire safety behaviors. Children, loose or unaccounted for outside the school building, are as grave a concern as children still inside the building upon the fire department's arrival.
Consider appointing a "line leader" or fire drill "leader" to lead the class to the designated fire exit, thus allowing the classroom teacher to bring up the rear and account for all young people. It is beneficial to leave windows and doors closed when exiting to retard fire growth. Please do not ever delay exiting to accomplish these tasks! We would much rather have you than closed windows. Consider placing a pouch by the classroom door with a class roster inside. This may be taken with the teacher when exiting the building and used to count noses! Some teachers may prefer to use their grade books for this purpose.
Once out - stay out! Do not ever return to the building for anyone or anything. Custodial staff may be used to sweep the building on their way out. Once you have taken roll, use hand signals to report your class status to office personnel. Locate young people far enough from the building to allow emergency personnel to operate their equipment. A fire hydrant is not a good meeting place!
Building principals, or their designees, should meet the arriving fire department officer in front of the school building to share critical information.
School emergency plans should address the possibility of removing all students and faculty from the school property if the need exists due to a catastrophic emergency.
Once out of the building, take care to position staff and students in areas free of smoke if the school building is actually on fire.