Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Emergency Procedures

You're in a class, most likely, before and during it all. The teacher is talking and you are bored, waiting for the class to break and the distraction to come. Then... It does. Suddenly the announcements come on and it's your principal speaking. "Today we will do a drill for [insert emergency procedure name here]," he or she says. They continue talking, saying something along the lines of this, "The safety of our students and staff is our utmost priority. This event is unlikely but we need to be prepared anyway and take this seriously. Any students who is disruptive should be sent to their grade level principal immediately after the drill." Of course no one takes this seriously and they go on their merry way to the corner of the room or outside the hallway or whatever smiling and laughing all the while about how stupid it is. The teacher probably does not take it seriously, giving half-hearted shushes to the kids in the corner before turning and talking to the other teacher in the room (who is either an assistant teacher or the teacher of a class that just happens to be a window, depending on the situation).

We happened to do two of these today so that we would waste as little time as possible. Instead of making me feel safe and secure, it only made me feel scared and got my mind thinking.
I'll address the lockdown drill first, or as they would say in elementary school, plumber-in-the-building (which makes me wonder what would happen if the very little kids, whom were told this so that they wouldn't freak out when this happened, saw a legit plumber in the building).

The lockdown drill is what we would do if an intruder/crazed gunman was in the building, or if someone with a gun or other weapon was outside of the building. In all of the schools I've been at, the following has happened. First, the teacher tells all of us to cram in a corner. Being as I always seem to be the slowest and the one farthest away from said corner, I always get there last and am quite visible from the window. The teacher usually yells at me and I scooch even closer to boys who are disgusted at my very presence. Then he or she turns off the lights and locks and lamely barricades the door. At least in this procedure, the teacher has always been silent (usually because no other teacher is in the room. Oddly enough, I don't recall ever being in a classroom with two teachers in this drill, but only when the other drill I will later mention occurs).

I have multiple problems with this. One, if the crazed gunman was a student at the school (or had been a student), he would know that there are actual kids in the classroom. My second problem is that even if he wasn't and never was, he would start to pick up on the pattern after a few classrooms. Locking the door is futile because all of the classrooms have a sort of glass pane so he could break the glass and reach his hand to unlock the door (I imagine most teachers would not risk their lives to go there and try to stop him, with the exceptions of a few heroic ones. Most teachers do not love their students that much or even particularly like them). If he did this, then he would probably burst his way in and then kill us all (most adult men have the strength to push past a chair). Hopefully the police would come there by then but probably not.

My third problem, this being the greatest in my book because it's the most probable, is that all the procedures would be shot to hell in a real emergency making all of this completely useless. Very few people are able to be calm in the face of danger, teachers included. People would most likely panic and attempt to run out of the building in a mass herd. Being as I am weak even by the physical standards of the average female, I would be more likely to be trampled or smooshed to death than to be killed by the actual source of the emergency.

On the bright side, if there ever is a crazed gunman, he's probably not going to be able to kill more than thirty people. Another thirty more might be injured and I'm being generous with that number. There are about two thousand kids in my high school. So, if there ever was a crazed shooter, the chances of me being injured or dead as a result of it are relatively low. As long as you did not personally piss the shooter off at some point in your life and are not in his general vicinity at the time of the shooting, it would be probably not be you who was shot.

Telling from all the above reasons, it is obvious that the protocol is futile. Now that I have basically decimated the basis for that procedure, I shall move on to shelter-in-place.

Ah, the good ol' shelter-in-place. This is the one that teachers don't even pretend to take seriously. It's what we would do in the case of some disaster involving nature. Never mind that my school is not built to withstand a tornado or earthquake or even a fire. Nope. Somehow moving our location or staying in place will help us. Yeah, okay. That's the first reason I think shelter-in-place is useless.

In the situation that it was a noxious gas, I don't see how moving would help us. Sure we might be away from the vents but gas from outside could easily make it's way inside. Also if it was from the inside, we'd still be in the building.

Secondly, we would all panic and there would be a mass herd like I mentioned above with the lockdown drill. There would be no "order". In the situation of emergency, people have probably forgotten an annual drill that no one took seriously in the first place and would lose their wits.  Stampede or natural disaster, it would most likely result in a dead me.

It's pretty obvious why shelter-in-place is useless too.

Telling from the above article, it's pretty obvious that I've put a lot of thought into this. I am a paranoid child and I worry about everything. There's ample proof for this too. Just recently, it went dark in the cafeteria for no reason and I swore that I saw someone turn the lights out. I thought that someone had turned off the lights so that they could shoot more of us. Nope. It was simply a power outage and the lights came on after a minute in the cafeteria.

Still, despite my paranoia, I think I have made a case here. I know that the odds of this happening are low but that it could happen. That's why these procedures happen. I still think that it's a waste of time, however, because it wouldn't help even if something like this did actually happen.

In conclusion, these are useless, futile procedures and only disrupt and take time away from learning. There's no real way to prepare for something like this.

However, it may be useless but I got to miss half of Math class. That makes it all worth it.

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