Fire Drill

ProperProcedure

On October 3, 2014 at 7:20 am Manhattan Center for Science and Math  conducted  a fire drill. According  to the Department  of Education protocol a minimum  of ten fire drills must be conducted on a yearly  basis.

The primary  objective  of a fire drill is to assure that ALL STUDENTS exit the building  safely in case of a fire.

Question: Why is Manhattan Center  conducting fire drills at 7:20am when the majority  of the students don’t arrive until 8:19am?

During my time at Manhattan  Center  we had to evacuate the building on numerous occasions because of fire. Manhattan  Center  actually  has a design flaw that causes what firefighters  call a chimney effect. Simply meaning that a fire in the basement or first floor will cause an immediate smoke condition  on the third floor. The administration  at Manhattan Center knows this, yet they conduct an average of four fire drills a year at 7:20 am  or earlier. The truth is repetition is important thus the word DRILL.

I speak from experience. During a bathroom fire in April of 2009. Some of the administrators panicked during and after the fire. This situation  got so bad that two employees  nearly came to blows in front of the students.

In a safety meeting after the fire Principal Jimenez  praised Daniel  Albetta  for being a hero (When I heard this I immediately thought of a Ham and Bologna sandwich.) Albetta noted about the trash can fire “it was a raging inferno.” (Use dramatic voice when reading this quote.) The custodian  who brought  the fire extinguisher noted “that it was a small fire that he was able to put out in with no problem. ”

Every fire drill Manhattan  Center runs with students is chaos. Manhattan Center  is located  on a BUSY INTERSECTION that leads to the south bound FDR highway. There is a mall across  the street  that has triple the number of cars that drive by. During every fire drill cars zoom pass students crossing the street because no one is stopping traffic.

During a fire drill in 2011, The Principal  of Issac Newton Middle  School  was nearly hit by a car because no one had stopped traffic at the East 116th street intersection. During a fire drill in 2012, a teacher was nearly struck by a car that he tried to stop to allow students to safety cross. During  the 2009 fire a number of students were almost struck by responding emergency vehicles because the administration  had waved them back into the school.

The AP of Security Daniel Albetta refuses to listen to anyone suggestions when it comes to school safety. Even today as the fire drill was being conduct I over heard current staff members  saying that he conducted  today’s drill early because  the last two with the students were total disasters.

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