Queensbury School is required to do nine emergency drills in the school year. The first drill of the year is an emergency evacuation drill that reviewed and conducted with staff only. We then try to do one fire and earthquake drill per term, and two lockdown drills over the year.
The fire drill involves an evacuation of the building and the taking of attendance in a timely manner. We have been able to manage this process this year in less than five minutes on a consistent basis. Our earthquake drills involves a simulated rumbling sound which signals to the students to duck, cover, and hold. After the rumbling, we will then either “shelter in place” (remain in the classroom) or “evacuate” (similar to a fire drill). The lock down drill allows us to practice what to do in a situation when there is an intruder in the building and when the danger is outside but in the immediate vicinity. In regards to the lock down drill, the words used over the PA system is a standard script that was developed by our District's Safe and Caring Schools Committee and vetted through the RCMP. This will be changing over the next few months as the RCMP has come up with some new protocol, which will be standardized for multiple jurisdictions.
We do not publish the exact times of our drills but the teachers receive some advance notice so they can prepare their class for them. We try to minimize the concerns for the students but do want people ready for any emergency situation that may arise. While it may be unpleasant to think that we need to practice such drills in the school setting, the need to maintain a safe and caring school environment extends to being prepared for natural disasters and other external dangers. Any discussions that you might have with your children about such drills would be helpful for the school.