Fire drill

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College students leave a dormitory at James Madison University, during a fire drill.

A fire drill is a sudden practice event, where people leave a building. They are practicing what they would do if there was a fire in the building. The event is started when a fire alarm sounder or bell keeps on sounding. The entire building is evacuated and everybody leaves the building using the nearest fire exit. At a school, college or university, the teacher or the lecturer counts the people outside to find out if anyone is missing. Sometimes people are evacuated for no reason. This is called a false alarm.

In the United Kingdom, the law says that all schools must do a fire drill every term. Prior to the 2013 regulations, most schools conducted a fire drill once a year. In addition to sounding the fire alarms for regular fire drills during term time, regular health and safety checks such as testing fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers must be done weekly. During half term holidays and breaks, these tests are often done during the day so that staff who work during term time know what the fire alarm sounds like. The fire alarm in the United Kingdom sounds either a continuous two tone buzzer or a beep similar to an electronic game beeping in test mode. Sometimes depending on the sounder used, the buzzer can curve between the two tones. In the United States, different states have laws that say how often schools must have fire drills. For example, in many states, schools must have one fire drill per month and fire alarms can either be continuous, or set to different codes such as code 3.

Fire drills commonly take place in schools, colleges and public companies. In public transport such as cruise ships, it is called a muster drill. Fire drills aren't done on airplanes, but a safety demonstration that shows the emergency procedures of the aircraft is done instead. If an aircraft is about to perform an emergency landing, the passangers on the aircraft are told to take the safety brace position on hearing the "brace" command.

Different ways of having fire drills[change | change source]

During fire drills, some schools block exits with a piece of cardboard or something else that is supposed to stand for a fire. This makes people practice finding another way out of the building.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Fire Drills in Wisconsin Schools: an Opportunity for Excellence, John Andersen, Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter, November 2003

Other websites[change | change source]