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MacPherson students prepare for fire

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - When alarm bells ring through N.J. MacPherson school, students know exactly what to do.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Students of N.J. MacPherson school take their places in the school gymnasium during a fire drill. All students were in the gym in one minute, 45 seconds. In the row pictured is Mrs. Moran's Grade 1 class and Mrs. Bridges Montessori kindergarten class. - Dorothy Westerman/NNSL photo

Marching single file through the hallways, students converge in the gymnasium and take their seats as the alarm bells pierce the air.

During a fire drill with an official of the Yellowknife Fire Department on scene, the 204 students got to the gym in one minute, 45 seconds.

Principal Michelle Krause said at the beginning of each school year, several fire drills are conducted.

"The first drill is without bells and alarms. It is announced over the PA system for everyone to stop what they are doing and go to the gym," Krause explained.

"Students line up by class and teachers do a quick attendance to ensure everyone is there," she said.

"We've always been able to do it in under two minutes," she said.

Chucker Dewar, deputy fire chief, said all schools in the city are required to do six fire drills per year.

"We will monitor the drills and provide feedback to the schools and see how the drills are going," Dewar said.

Dewar said typically, the schools are well-organized and are able to evacuate well under four minutes.

"It's important we get the school emptied as quickly as possible," he said. "Fire can spread very quickly, so it is important that everybody be familiar with the plan."