Fire Drill exercise carried out at Holy Cross
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Students at Holy Cross and residents of San Mateo were ruffled by the sound of emergency sirens and the scampering of children from the school compound on Wednesday, October 17th in the mid-morning. The commotion was the result of a routine fire drill carried out by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) – San Pedro, along with the Ministry of Education to monitor and evaluate the school’s preparedness in responding to the threat of a fire.
The exercise commenced sharply at 10:22 am and concluded at 10:53am. With over 500 students in attendance, the teachers were tasked to get all the students out of the school compound in an orderly manner, while maintaining their safety. School officers were expected to follow protocol, informing all pertinent officials such as – fire, police, medical, transport and parents of the situation at hand.
One transport officer and the San Pedro Fire Department responded to the drill. There were two students who “fainted” (as part of the simulation) during the exercise and were administered a mock CPR.
Speaking of the exercise, Jeromey Timrose – District Emergency Officer for Belize Rural South area commented, “Being this is their first time [drill] the school did very well. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. We were asked by NEMO Belmopan to do a fire drill at one of our most vulnerable schools. In consultation with the District Education Officer, we chose Holy Cross, based on the schools proximity and location to other vulnerable areas. The purpose of the fire drill is to assure that people who may be in danger, by means of training may learn to react in a calm and orderly manner. Having people with designated responsibilities and tasks help to ensure the safety of all those concerned and escape routes are used in accordance to a practiced plan. By doing so the evacuation of the building is achieved in a speedy and orderly manner and an attitude is promoted whereby people react rationally when confronted with a fire as well as to test the different agencies that are responsible for the safety of our community.”
Following the drill, the Principal of the school returned to the NEMO office where the situation was analyzed and recommendations were made as to how to better respond to emergencies such as a fire.