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Oct 23, 2012

St. Ignatius School students learn from a fire drill

A drill was held today at the St Ignatius School to develop a plan for schools in the event of a fire. Everyone was evacuated from the school as CEMO, the Fire, Police and Traffic Departments and BERT tested their preparedness. Duane Moody was on hand for the exercise.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Classes were briefly interrupted just after eleven today at St. Ignatius Primary School on Euphrates Avenue as the alarms went off. A simulated fire was in effect and eight hundred and forty-six students, faculty and staff and other employees scurried off the compound to safety. The simulation is to assist in developing an emergency plan for education institutions.

 

Philip Willoughby

Philip Willoughby, Councilor Responsible for CEMO

“There is a timeframe that all primary schools, kindergartens and secondary schools must have an emergency plan, a disaster plan and how they’ll evacuate. This is the third school that has seen this exercise thus far and we will continue to strategically move along with the other primary schools to ensure that they develop such plan. And this is all to keep up with the City’s mandate in terms of improving the Quality of Life.”

 

Councilor Responsible for CEMO, Philip Willoughby, says the simulation allows the various partners to collaborate effectively and avoid casualties. He says that the response time is pivotal in developing an effective plan.

 

Philip Willoughby

“Our police department, our traffic department, the fire department, BERT ambulance, and others and there are other international players who partner with NEMO to ensure that these initiatives are executed. The fire department showed up at one minute twenty-four seconds after the call went out; the last child exited the gate at two minutes forty-five seconds. That is pretty good for a very huge school. One exit and it’s about eight hundred; seven hundred eighty-three students along with teachers. And you know that other parents and other persons were on the compound likewise. So all of them had to be evacuated.”

 

But while Willoughby says that the simulation was successful, there are some modifications required for a better flow.

 

Philip Willoughby

“Two areas I think that was lacking but there were modifications made on one of them. Firstly, the police department didn’t show up to help us. I know it is just a simulation exercise, but nonetheless, once the call goes out to the fire department, it’s supposed to transcend to the police department likewise. Simulation or real time. Secondly, the council; I don’t think we are tied into the national grid of response callers as first responders. I think we need to ensure that we are placed on that grid of communication once the call goes out.”

 

Other improvements, which are to be funded through an IDB project, include the creation of more exits on the compound to enhance the emergency response and placement for fire extinguishers. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

The next stop will be the St. John’s Primary School.

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