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 cars.
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.