I've worked in four different schools during the past ten years and when it comes to emergency evacuations they have struggled to account for every student (and staff) despite their efforts and recording they did (account for them all that is).
Three schools used the "print all registers" at the time the evacuation bell sounded whether from SIMS or CMIS but although this identified who was registered AM/PM it didn't necessarily mean they were still onsite as they could have gone to the dentist, etc. (noted by the student reception or wherever, on paper). By the time it took to print all the registers, take them outside, Tutors endeavour to tick off the students before them, etc. anyone missing would have been burnt to a cinder or suffered with smoke inhalation (in the event of a real fire of course). Accounting for staff always felt a secondary concern and quite often no formal register of who was out of the building ever took place!
The one school that appeared to do better than others was where they had prepared laminated copies of the Tutor group registers that were refreshed every Term (three times per year in their case) and kept by Reception. In the event of an evacuation they were taken out and handed to the respective Tutors who would mark off their students, obviously knowing who was in or out that day because they had personally taken the AM/PM registers hadn't they... This meant that no-one had to stay inside waiting for the printer to churn out paper registers, etc. and thus reduce further risk to staff. Okay, it might not be fool-proof but it was quicker and potentially safer for all concerned.
When I taught (in the olden days) the fire register was in fact a truant trap. These days that is checked on every change of lesson so I can't see the point of wasting time on finding a solution to something that is not encouraged by the experts i.e. the fire service.
We used to have registers to check if anyone was "missing" in the event of a fire drill.
Originally it was the old paper book registers, then OMR sheets and finally Bromcom pads.
However once we reviewed our procedures with the local Fire Brigade prior to moving to SIMS LM, we did away with taking a register out completely.
Instead each of our 11 buildings have at least 2 staff designated as Fire Marshalls who perform a sweep of that portion of the site to ensure it is empty of students or staff (and have had some training on a fire extinguisher just to be on the safe side)
This cut our evacuation procedure down from nearly 15 minutes to under 7.
Obviously as a secondary school, this procedure works for us, but for a primary a list would be useful and a laminated class sheet with a line though absentees seems the fastest and most low cost option (as what would happen if the fire started in the server room and took out the network so you couldn't print a up-to-date list even if you wanted to)
I thought I had.
Okay, his positive advice was, let the school do whatever they want to do, it makes no difference to us. When we turn up we will do our job, fo r which we have trained intensively. Negative, don't give us meaningless bits of paper with names of missing children as we do not want them. I paraphrase.
Having spent 8 years in the army, a few as a medic, you are trained to ignore the people who will be in a panic and irrational and to get on with your job. The hysterical Head who believes a child is missing will become white noise, as will the calm one who claims everyone is safe. It's really simple, why are people making it complicated, spare time at the end of year?
I was going to speak up with a long-ish post about how our School does it differently, but @Boredguy 's School does their evacuations the same way as ours (secondary school w/ sixth form) so there's no need.
We've found it allows us more time to ensure there is no one left in the buildings and while it still isn't foolproof, it works fine for us. What I've found as a fire marshal is that while Students are generally very good at evacuating promptly, it's the occasional Staff members that let the process down when they assume "oh no, not another false alarm" and don't bother to leave what they're doing.
You can pass the information on to the fire crew when they turn up, who will then (as you rightly suggest) ignore it and continue with their sweep. However, when the inevitable backlash comes from parents/LEA/press/solicitors etc., you can say, with confidence, that you identified the issue and took appropriate steps to inform those involved in the rescue attempt. Can you imagine if the school's response was, 'We didn't know little Johnny was still inside because we didn't weren't sure how many pupils there should have been.'? Whether it serves any other purpose, at least doing a head-count is going some way to covering your own back.
I now think we have enough material for the Monty Python School Fire sketch. I'm off to claim my script writing fees from Mr J Cleese...
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