It's a freezing cold day in January (I'm making a hypothetical out of an actual situation). You find out that your kindy kid had a fire drill at school that day. They were outside for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but with no coats/mitts on. Yes, I understand that in a real-life situation there's no time for outdoor wear, but do you think it's acceptable to allow young children to stand outside a school for a drill in -20 (or lower) temps?
Just wondering. Because DD had a drill the other day. Perhaps they called the drill because it was particularly mild (maybe only 0 degrees) but they were still out there for quite some time with no warm clothing.
Do you think the protocol for a drill should be to emulate the exact scenario of a real fire, which would be to get outside safely as soon as possible, leaving the coats behind? Or, do you think that if it is deemed safe by staff that the children should be able to grab their coat before lining up at the door?
i'm kind of torn, truth be told.
Wow! Why wouldn't they have coats/mitts on? If I let them, my students would have their coats, beanies, and gloves on in the 72 degree classroom. We have a bit of a cold spell at 25 lately and their warm stuff is close enough to grab before leaving the room.
But, no. I don't think 20 - 30 minutes is okay to be out in the cold without their warm stuff. Are they allowed to be inside during recess/lunch in this weather?
I will preface my answer with a little of my life history. When I was 12 years old my house burnt down. It was the middle of the night on January 17. It was -6 F. From that experience I can say that fires happen in all different kinds of situations.
From the perspective of a parent, I would probably be irritated if my child was outside in the cold that long without proper clothing. I am trying to remember from my childhood if fire drills were only in the warm weather or not. I am not sure.
I guess I would have to say that if where you live is cold 75% of the school year, not all of the fire drills could be in warm weather. It would be prudent for the teachers to have coats and mittens and such on. It also would not hurt to practice to getting them on faster so that in a real emergency it could be done quickly. (Of course as I am writing this I am looking back at standing on the side of the road in 3' of snow in nothing more than a t-shirt, my older brothers coat, and barn boots. No pants.)
I do not think they should be outside without coats. In a real fire yes, but this is a drill and their safety is important.
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
I think it should emulate the real thing. There should be no uncertainty in the actual situation (a real fire) for the child. A drill is supposed to teach the exact procedure. That said I think that they probably did call it because it was such a mild day. I know in our district, there is a place for each school within a block or so that they walk to if it is too cold to stand outside (Usually a church).
I remember when I worked in Calgary we had one when I was 6 months pregnant and the field was covered with ice. My inside shoes were not made for ice, and the grade 7s had to hold me upright and help me to our spot and back. So embarrassing.
ETA: In my experience fire drills in cold weather are seriously walking to your spot, doing attendance and trooping back in. They try to make them as quick as possible.
Last edited by ftmom; 01-18-2013 at 08:52 PM.
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)
It should be done like it is a real fire.
I do know that here in Mass they have a certain time frame between when they do the drills that they have to follow or they won't be found complaint by the fire dept and that is a personal experience from a job at a residental school. They would give us 10-15 mins warning before the drill mostly because of the amount of children in wheelchairs or children/teens who would flip out and have to be restrained outside (it's much better to be prepared to have to restrain someone when a fire alarm is going).
We had a fire alarm go off the other day at work. I admit it, I grabbed my coat & purse before evacuating, and I doubt that extra two seconds would make any difference in a real life fire. Tiven had a fire drill at school a couple of weeks ago on one of our really cold days (maybe 40, you Canadians are probably ROFL about that!) and she said all the kids were shivering but the teachers had put their coats on. Since then, she's left her coat on the back of her chair instead of in her cubbie. In a real emergency, the kids are supposed to be walked over to a nearby school to wait in their cafeteria, or if that's not possible, to an even closer church to wait in their hall. I think being stuck outside in -20 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes *would* be considered an emergency in any other circumstance, and the kids should have been taken to safety. I'd raise hell with the principal.
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