Smoke on the Ridge Part II


Benjamin Jensen, Columnist


From a student’s perspective of January 25th’s evacuation, all facts are unknown and rumors have circulated. Teachers, on the other hand, have a different perspective on the evacuation. Many teachers have called for major changes such as, alternate evacuation routes, more evacuation destinations, designated classroom signs, and a full map of the school in their safe schools evacuation folder.


Alternative evacuation routes are not planned or shown in the safe schools folder. Only one evacuation route is practiced once every month. However, the events of January 25th proves that alternative routes should be practiced regularly . 


According to English teacher Mrs. Johnson, “I think it would be very helpful for us to have an alternative route in case the usual exit is blocked.” 


Alternative routes can be practiced with different evacuation scenarios. For example, the announcements can announce to evacuate to the usual destinations, but avoid a certain door or exit because it is “blocked”. 


Maps are a critical piece of the evacuation plan. However, only a small portion of the school is shown. No alternative routes, no alternative destinations, and no alternative exit points. Some teachers have requested a full map of the school with multiple evacuation routes and destinations. 


“When kids were asking me where to stand, I couldn’t tell them where to go because their classroom number was not on the map. So during the actual evacuation, I couldn’t tell kids where to go because I only had the football field on the map,” said another teacher, Ms. Carhart.


With the addition of full maps with alternative routes, real evacuations will be safer and less confusing. Also, it will allow students and teachers to arrive at their evacuation destinations quicker. 


The staff were some of the key helpers during the evacuation. They were able to instruct students where to go, make sure there was no danger, and to quickly get rid of the smoke bombs in the bathroom. 


This evacuation highlighted the flaws in our current evacuation system. Teachers and students alike are still questioning whether or not the evacuation plan should change. This was the second real fire evacuation as of this school year, it is possible that we have to change our plan in order to make things safer.