Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Skool Nerse Time

This is Mrs. Grumpy.

Dear Teachers,

As we all know by now, there was a small fire yesterday in Building 7 at Douglas C. Kenney Elementary School. It involved a storage room with some paint and wood. Fortunately, between the sprinklers and the fire department, it was out quickly with only minimal damage.

As your school nurse, responding to the fire alarm is part of my job. After all, someone might be injured. So when the siren went off I grabbed my first aid kit & stethescope, and skeedadled over. I didn't grab my umbrella, which I should have because it was lightly raining.

When I got over to Building 7, with the alarm blaring and smoke coming out of the utility room, I was somewhat surprised to see NOBODY outside, in the orderly lines that you do so well during fire drills.

I was even more surprised to find all students in their room, with teachers, continuing regular lessons (albeit shouting loudly over the alarm).

Let's review:

When you hear the fire alarm, take your students and GO OUTSIDE!!! When I ask teachers WHY THE HELL everyone is still inside, "Because it's raining" IS NOT an acceptable answer. I don't care if the children don't have coats/ponchos/umbrellas. It wasn't even that heavy, for freak's sake.

When I do finally herd your stupid butts outside, telling your kids to stay dry by standing under the wooden overhangs that are connected to the building IS NOT a good idea. You are supposed to get far away from the building, to the corners of the playground.

We practice this damn drill 4 times a year. So when it really happens, WTF can't you carry it out?

38 comments:

thatsit said...

Paints and solvents should probably be kept in a Hazardous Materials Locker. /safety geek

I've never ever heard of students and/or teachers not responding to a fire alarm. Crazy talk!

not securely anchored said...

Ah, but you see it wasn't SCHEDULED.

Packer said...

And into these hands we entrust our children to be taught and to learn and to gain in that most uncommon of attributes --common sense.

I call for fire drills every week for the remainder of the school year--teacher raises based upon how well they are done.

Lilorfnannie said...

Wow. And I thought MY kids' teachers were dumbasses.

Anonymous said...

OMG! The only time I have ever ignored a fire alarm was when it was a scheduled practice drill and I was in the middle of doing a suicide risk assessment and trying to convince a high schooler that going to the crisis center was in her best interest (I'm a school psychologist)

a.generic doc said...

In the hospital, the only ones who react to a fire alarm are the engineers who have to reset the system.

And for some reason, the bells turn off long before the flashing lights. I guess that means if it were a real fire, the deaf would get out, but not the blind.

AlexDreamz said...

I'm with Packer and Anon... and if that was MY kid's school, I'd want to know why each and every one of those teachers hadn't already been fired - IMO, that behavior borders on criminal (yes, I DO feel strongly about this subject!)

Not House said...

In our hospital, its become a running joke that the engineering department tests the fire alarms at least once a week, to the point where no one bats an eyelash when the alarm goes off, because we know that in 2 minutes, an announcement goes off, saying "Engineering is testing the Code Red system".

One day, it will come back to bite us in the ass.

lightning said...

Not like anything bad could happen ...

The teachers should all be forced to read that post and pass a test on the content.

CholeraJoe said...

When I was at a nuclear bomber base in the USAF, they tested the Alert Klaxon every day at noon. Even though I expected it, it still scared the beejeezis out of me. I thought WWIII had started.

Don said...

When I was in junior high, around the end of the Jurassic Era, we had scheduled fire drills that went off no matter the weather. Pouring rain, blowing snow, riots neaby. Everyone, teachers and staff got their tails out. Woe to the student or teacher that didn't. Vice Principal Mrs. Devastation, a large woman that looked as if she could beat NFL linebackers senseless with one hand, carried a large paddle that she enjoyed using as she went room to room.
What a bunch of foolish teachers!

Officer Cynical said...

Sort of off the subject, but Doug Kenney and his cohorts were geniuses. I discovered their mag when I was in the military - it helped keep me sane.

Kat's Kats said...

::bangs head repeatedly on laptop:: I wonder what they'd do if they had my kids in their class?? Fortunately this never happens in their schools but if it did my kids would pick up their stuff and start leaving the room. And should the teachers comment? Both of my kids, whom have COBP/ADD & Anxiety Disorder/Aspergers respectively, would look at them and say, "It's a fire alarm, that means there is a fire. If I don't follow the rules for responding to a fire my mom will kill me if the fire doesn't. You can give me an F if you want to but if you do, expect to hear from my mother and the principal."

Okay, maybe they might not go past the first two sentences, given their capacity to talk to those in authority, but they damn well would follow the rules for responding to a fire alarm!! Geez Louise!! I hope the principal put a black mark in each teacher's permanent record as well as giving them What For™. ::narrows eye at teachers & principal::

John Woolman said...

Back in the day, when I was a junior doc in a hospital lab the fire alarm went off. And there was a smell of smoke. We evacuated in orderly fashion and took the roll call. One of the histopathologists was missing. I went back into the building to find him. There he was in his office. "Did you hear the fire alarm?", I asked, "it's real, not an exercise". His reply stunned me; "It doesn't apply to me, I'm medical". He did emerge when the fire service arrived though.

I love my profession, but sometimes I hate the arrogance of some of its members.

Anonymous said...

I second the link Lightning posted about the Lake View School in Collinwood, OH. We had a scheduled fire drill about a week ago and once we got back inside the building my students commented that if it had been a real fire they wouldn't be walking out in single lines. I proceeded to give a short lecture on panic and human stampedes which got them to change their minds.

As a teacher I ALWAYS exit the building with my students for a fire alarm...scheduled or not. The potential consequences just aren't worth staying, even if it is raining outside.

Rothase said...

I used to teach high school and we would have drills for tornadoes, fires and intruders. Then we got a new school building. For tornadoes (for all y'all not here in the midwest or plains states), you are supposed to go in the hallway, away from windows, up against the rows of lockers and squat, covering your head. Except the architects put skylights all over the second floor. Tornado=flying debris+glass=BAD. So the whole school had to cram into the 1st floor hallways. And for intruders, the teacher is supposed to lock the door and cover the windows so no one can see who is in the room. Except the architects built whole walls for some classrooms out of glass blocks. *sigh* I don't teach any more.
Meanwhile, we have severe weather warnings here (St. Louis) for this afternoon around 3pm. Batten down the hatches!

Nurse Corrie said...

Last year some crazy dude kept calling in bomb threats to the school where my sister teaches. When the threats came in the whole school would evacuate to the church down the street. After it happened 3-4 times (with no bomb) the district called the principle and told her she wasn't allowed to evacuate anymore because the kids were missing too much school. Bomb threat=no evacuation? Umm... no. The principle refused, got in trouble, got the fire chief to stand up for her, and the police eventually found the guy and the threats stopped. Sometimes there is no logic.

Anonymous said...

@lightning, thanks so much for that link. It led me on an hour plus spree of famous fire incidents and I'm hopeful that I'll now be more aware of what to do and what not to do if I'm ever in a similar situation.

Don said...

Even a lot of companies have fire drills, just in case a fire happens. I worked for one place in the far north that had a fire drill every quarter, and I always took my heavy winter jacket during the winter drill. Most people didn't. When there was a serious real fire, due to improper understanding of some attributes of metallic magnesium, I was the only one in my section wearing my jacket during a serious snow storm. We were outside a long time.
Down here, in tornado country, we really should have drills, but don't.
National Lampoon was fun in those days...

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

We have earthquake drills out here in Southern California. We all duck and cover under the desks, and after about a minute (calculating the average time of a real earthquake, I guess), we get up and walk to the open playground.

That's how the drill works.

Whenever we have an actual tremor, everyone sits around saying "Hey, did you feel that?"

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Did Mrs. Grumpy really say WTF? She's my hero for the day!


WV- lutaport- used to cannulate the brains of stupid teachers.

Kat's Kats said...

@Don - We live in Rutherford county in Tennessee. Our county school system lets parents know what days we'll be having weather preparedness drills (but obviously not when) since students can not be picked up from school during that time because the schools will be locked down. They have these drills several times a year and yes, they are exactly the same as the Real Deal.

I also get a phone call (on my home phone & cell phone) as well as an email whenever there is a weather emergency. This is something parents are encouraged to sign up for at the beginning of the school year. During a tornado watch the kids in portables come inside and parents may pick up kids with no penalty for absence from school. Once a warning goes into effect children do not leave school, go into the safe areas with all staff and no one is allowed to leave until the warning is lifted. Yet another reason I like this school system!

Anonymous said...

the year after I graduated from high school, it burned. Had the English teacher NOT thought it real even before the alarm went off, and gotten the kids out, there would have been serious consequences when her ceiling collapsed less than 2 minutes later. My brother and brother-in-law lost all their books, coats, things in lockers, etc. But NO ONE lost a life because they GOT OUT!

Anonymous said...

Leaves me nostalgia for the days when our drills were to teach us how to huddle under our desks as protection against a nuclear bomb. Yeah, that was gonna do it. I wish I had known then what I know now - those nuns would have had their hands even fuller with me!

But we did always, treat the fire alarm seriously and leave the buildings (click, click, click.) You know who you are if you recognize that sound...

Anonymous said...

When I was in elementary school, our principal went as far as grabbing a student from the back of the line to see what the teacher would do when she realized that one of her students was missing. Our principal would also set up "fire" barriers so that classes would have to use a secondary or alternate escape route.

Charles said...

As one who survived 9-11 in NYC; all I can do is shake my head and say what is wrong with those teachers?

Don said...

@Kat's Kats: The client, a small part of a very large business, seems to think that tornadoes can't happen here, in western SC. There is one designated tornado shelter in my client's main building, on the first floor. Fire drills are run once a year, but nothing else. At the agency where I work offsite some days, there are no designated areas, and a lot of glass windows. In the event of a tornado striking, my co-workers and I will have to take our chances. Shelters and drills would cost money, and that detracts from the bottom line.
@Lightning: Thank you for the link. FYI, the client net nanny banned that web site for some reason.

Kat's Kats said...

@Anon 02:02 - I remember those!! As well as the b/w films & a snappy song about duck & cover. ::grin::

@Anon 02:46 - Your principal would have loved me! ::weg:: I was the one who got the instructor in lifesaving class to say "That's how you do it!" because I treated her like she was actually drowning (I ducked her when she started thrashing) and then went on to stand on a fellow classmates shoulders when she tried to rescue me. Hey! I was told to be realistic!

I went on to terrorize the black sash in the women's self-defense class. We were learning to do a shoulder throw. So I threw him, dropped an elbow to his diaphram, bill gee(sp) to his eyes, chop to his neck (don't worry, they were all about a 1/4" off) all while his arms were flat to the ground with his eyes wide open. I was about to get up and put a heel in his bladder when Master Gray said, "All right Kat, that's enough." "But Master Gray! You said to keep going until we were sure he'd be done long enough for us to get to safety or call the police!" ::blinks innocently::

K-Man said...

And then there's the opposite situation. I once worked as a correctional officer, and my institution planned a drill to simulate some disaster (explosion, I believe). Unfortunately, no one thought to tell the institution master control or local and state authorities that the 911 call was a drill. The parking lot was soon a sea of blue police lights, red fire and rescue lights, and helicopters circling overhead—with many more vehicles and aircraft on the way...

The training department didn't forget to warn the appropriate people inadvance about a drill after that.

Mallory said...

Real fire and no evac? Those teachers should all go on a mandatory fire-safety/evac course.

Schools can be weird though - at my high school, half the school had to evacuate down the path between the kitchens and the boiler room (2 most likely fire locations) while the other half assembled on the drive (where the fire engines would be trying to pull up).

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. You see I grew up in Southern CA where we had real fires. Fire scares the hell out of me. In college the would test the fire alarms without telling anyone, and it would scare the hell out of me because people would just ignore them. Then last year on call I left the sleeping space because the fire alarm went off...you know I was the only one? I walked past three fire trucks parked outside too. WTF?

Melissa

Diana said...

That's scary.

We have fire drills once a month at our school.

Anonymous said...

The plant I worked at was destroyed by a big tornado (during my shift) less than a month after we'd done our tornado drill. I never ignore alarms, and so neither do my co-workers.

Anonymous said...

My kids' school had a fire drill one day when I was helping in the library. Teachers didn't get to leave the building until ALL of their students were out - rooms double checked. The librarian and I BOTH checked the all areas of the library over before we bailed out. Those kids were OUR responsibility, and if any of them were going to be in danger, well, so were we.

Then there was the hazmat lab I used to work in. ONE emergency drill the entire time I worked there, and they did it on a very cold, rainy day. F*ck that sh*t - I went and got my coat, it was just a drill. Interesting side note: The place burned down and killed two people about a year after I left. Think maybe they should have held regular drills, instead of one every few years?

Library-Gryffon said...

My mother's boarding school had one very old building used as a dorm. They were required to be able to clear the building in less than 5 minutes to continue using it. So for the first couple of months every school year there were alarms at all hours until they could do it.

I've had two real fires at school, once in 4th grade where we had to stand out in Michigan snow in our gym uniforms for over half an hour, and once in junior high when it was the boiler room that they evacuated my class past and had us standing at the edge of the parking lot, less than 50 feet from the fire. Even at the time I wondered what would have happened if something had gone boom.

Now I work at a hospital, and we "defend in place" so unless your area is the one on fire, stay put. Unless you are in the annex, or the MOB, in which case you evacuate, not that anyone who doesn't work in the building full time (and not even many of them) knows that. Security gets cranky when they sweep the building during a drill and find folks working away in their offices.

If I were to ever find out that something similar to Mrs. Grumpy's experience happened at one of my kids schools, the Board of Ed would not be happy, to say the least.

Angry Nurse said...

Not a unique situation as far as I'm concerned. A few years back I was in San Francisco when the hotel fire alarm went off at about 0200 in the morning. I got up, grabbed my bailout bag (always keep one next to the bed) and hit the fire escape to the street and was met by a firemen who was quite surprised someone had actually reacted to the alarm. We waited for more people to show up and no one did.

The Mother said...

You mean that's what those sirens were all about? Gosh...

heterodyne said...

That's scary. That's really, really scary for me as a parent to read.

 
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