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Safety In Our Schools


Safety in the schools can mean life and death in many
situations. One way is fires. With such things as thin
walls, flammable interior, or exterior, schools could turn
into a flaming inferno. All schools should be routinely
checked for things such as escape routes from the building
and the ease of opening and closing these routes. They also
should be clear from any interfering things nearby. Schools
should have such things as walls inside and outside that do
not have flammable material. Often this is the reason that
many brick buildings burn. Many think brick is the safest
but often is inter-mixed with interiors that burn easily.
If such buildings had non-flammable interiors, then such
things might not happen.
Schools should go through safety procedures with the
children thoroughly at least once a month. The schools
should try to communicate with the children about fires and
try to get the point across clearly. Such things that
should be mentioned are that children should leave the
building quietly, even this is probably the hardest thing
to do. The schools should try to teach the kids that
running might get you out, but could injure or kill many
more, some of them being friends or people you care for
such as brother's or sister's even if they don't like them
now, they'll miss them when they die. When the kids get out
of the school, they should go to a selected place to wait
for others and teachers to take authority. The children
should then proceed to try to stay clear of the firemen and
police officers that might soon arrive because of the
consequences which might encounter the child if she/he gets
in their way. The Firefighters could lose their
concentration with such distractions could cost someone's
life. When the children interfere with the firefighters,
they could cause an explosion and be struck by equipment,
colliding with a vehicle, etc. They would also slow down
the firefighters often causing in yet another life or to
the firefighter themselves.
As in a house fire, your class should take precautions if
you see smoke coming in your room or down the hall. If it's
coming in your room, then you should close the door
immediately if it's open or feel it if it's cold to see if
its hot. If its not hot, open it slowly and proceed
outside. If it's hot or there's smoke coming inside, close
the door. Look for a fire escape if your above the first
floor and exit onto it. If there is none, then wave
something noticeable out the windows and try to get
someone's attention. If you're on the first level, then
just climb out the windows. Make sure you go out in some
sort of an orderly fashion because if there is shoving or
pushing, then people could get caught up, trampled on, or
knocked back causing havoc. If you all leave patiently then
you all have a better chance of getting out together and
alive, non-cooperation could lead to people getting caught
up or left behind, or getting out to late and being killed
by the smoke coming in. Try to prevent something like this
from starting by first trying to notice a new smell and see
if it's smoke, if all agree then proceed to investigate.
These are some very good tips on how to better prepare
yourself and this is how I feel about fires and how they
should be taught and helped be prevented.
1. New York Times, 2 December 1958 2. "Urgent Message-Safe
Schools," Newsweek, 15 December 1958 3. "A Nation's Haste
to learn From a City's Sad Lesson," Newsweek,
15 December 1958 4. "Uses A Home Escape Plan," Lesson Plan
#4 5. "Helps the Fire Department" Lesson Plan #9 6. "Fire
Safety in the Home," 1976
Article #1 - 90 Perish in Chicago School Fire
On December 1, something very unexpected happened in
Chicago. A fire broke out killing 87 children and three
nuns. It was at Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic
Parochial School.
Normally children would use the fire drills to exit a
building calmly and quietly, but not this time. Children
forgot these drills because of the panic. Some jumped out
windows and others trampled over others to get out first
and alive.
There were rescue efforts made by the nuns, teachers,
priests, janitors, and passer-bys who rescued more than
1,000 children. One class was found dead at their desks.
They have found no evidence of arson even though there was
a suspicious man outside after the school went ablaze.
There was also a thirty gallon metal can sealed at both
ends at the foot of the basement stairway.
Mothers pleaded to join the rescue efforts, but were held
back by policemen. Some mothers had coats and went to meat
their children in the schoolyard.
Article #2 - Urgent Message - Safe Schools
Newsweek covered a different aspect of the tragedy. While
the New York Times covered the families and the actual
accident, Newsweek covers how to prevent this from
happening in the future and the precautions that are being
taken. Some areas such as Boston, Detroit, New Haven, and
Baltimore ordered either an immediate inspection or a
survey of all their schools. New York ordered an inspection
of over 1,500 schools closing ten until they can clean
themselves up. Parents were also demanding to know the
safety precautions at their child's school. People have
over the years thought of a brick building as safe from
fire, but nearly 70% of fires occur in such buildings
because of combustible interiors such as woodwork which
helps the fire grow. The most fires are caused by
Overloaded wiring or a short circuit as 29.1 percent,
cigarettes and matches are 11.6%, defective heating systems
are 9.7%, 7.3% is vandalism, and spontaneous combustion is
4.9% based on 300 school fires. There was a checklist
included with the article saying school officials and
parents should be asking: 1) Are the building inspected at
least once a year by authorities? 2) Is there a suggestion
box in which people could report hazardous things they
find? 3) If the school has a sprinkler system, is it
checked regularly? 4) Are heating plants and fuel rooms
separated from other portions of the building by fire proof
structures? 5) Are steam and hot water pipes covered with
heat resistant materials? 6) Are wastepaper chutes
completely fire resistant? 7) Do exits have panic bar
locks? 8) Do exits open outward? 9) Can open window
screening be easily unfastened from the inside? 10) Are all
stairways and other vertical openings in the building
enclosed by fire-resistant partitions?
Article #3 - Fire. Thirty-Eight O Eight Iowa...
This article had other differences than the previous
article. This article explained how the firemen and
policemen were handling the situation. Lt. Stanly heard the
call about the fire at 2:42 and he answered it racing to
the trucks at the Fire Department. A minute later, the
janitor, Raymond, was running torwards the locker rooms
because he heard some kids who were banging on the door.
The door wouldn't open so he busted it and helped a few
kids out. He made five heroic trips like that one then he
passed out.
At 2:44, Patrolman Matthew Landers, skidded up in front of
the school. He noticed the first firemen coming after
looking at the sight of kids lying on the ground, most
unconscious. At 2:45, Hook and Ladder Co. got there with
five men and Lt. Charles Kamin. He helped rescue children
falling out of windows after he went around the school
looking at bodies on the ground. At 2:51, The five- alarm
was set off getting all available equipment to the scene.
Some men were sent to direct traffic so there wouldn't be
any collisions of rescue equipment. Soon all the streets
around the school were filled up with heavy equipment and
When they got all set up, they were soon passing children
out through windows even while one window ignited into a
mass of fire. He then started organizing the routine work,
breaking the roof to let the gasses out and so on knowing
there was nothing more that could be done for the kids. 


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