Sipsey students practice safety drills
by Briana Webster
Aug 24, 2013 | 1368 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Sipsey Junior High School hosted several drills and an evacuation activity on Friday, less than a week into the new school year. Younger students held hands as they left the building in an orderly fashion.
Sipsey Junior High School hosted several drills and an evacuation activity on Friday, less than a week into the new school year. Younger students held hands as they left the building in an orderly fashion.
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Putting children first is a key factor on Sipsey Junior High School’s list of priorities. Principal Chris Harris is making certain that his students’ safety is No. 1.

Administration, teachers and students participated in fire and weather drills, a lockdown and school evacuation activities throughout the day Friday in preparation for the possibility of future disasters.

“I’m new here, and we have a lot of little ones in the building and several new faculty members. I wanted to do it early and to find out what I might need to change as the administrator and to let our smaller grades understand what we were going to do,” Harris said. “You know you’re going to have chaos in a building, in a school building, but what you want to try to do is manage the chaos.” 

Harris said the fire and weather drills and lockdowns will be performed once a month, while the evacuation drills will only occur twice a year — once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester. The drills are all timed, and Harris said they want to beat those times each month throughout the year.

“I’ve never really understood the fact of doing drills later on in the year. What if something happens early on? An event could happen next week that we need to be prepared for with these drills,” Harris said. “We try to establish a time this first week, and then we’ll make sure that we stay under that time for the rest of the year.” 

With incidents happening nationwide, for example, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last year and the devastating tornado that hit Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma earlier this year, schools should be prepared and ready during emergency situations. After a brief rain shower, Harris announced over the intercom for students and teachers to go through their evacuation routine. The children exited the building orderly Friday afternoon, with older students chatting with their friends and younger students holding hands with one another.

“The drills went great. They were very smooth,” Harris said. “We want to make sure there is some type of organization, if a chaotic situation happens within the school. All these drills and the management of the chaos may end up saving bodily injury or even a life.

“You never can really tell what might happen or the situation you’re going to be put in, but the more structure you have to handle the chaos, the better off you’re going to be as a school.”