Emergency Action Plan

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    The Emergency Action Plan is designed to help the St Cloud School District comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Means of Egress standard (29 CFR 1910.35-1910.40), as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Uniform Fire Code 1303.4 Emergency Plans for Smoke Fire or Hazardous Materials Incident.

    This Plan outlines procedures for the evacuation and protection of building occupants during an emergency situation.  The standard does not include exits from vessels, vehicles or other mobile structures.  A reference compliance checklist can be found in Appendix A.

    This Plan is intended to be non-site-specific and will need to be modified to adapt to specific conditions at each site or school district.  In addition, St Cloud School District is responsible for the implementation, enforcement and updating of its Emergency Action Plan.  The Plan will be reviewed and updated annually or as changes to the facilities occur.  Actual use of this Plan is limited to Resource Training & Solutions and the Central MN School District which it represents.

    Note: This Plan does not include a Fire Prevention Plan as referenced in OSHA’s Means of Egress standard (29 CFR 1910.38).  Each school district should have a site-specific Fire Prevention Plan in place.  In addition, this Plan does not address building design/code requirements and egress capacity and width criteria as referenced in OSHA’s Means of Egress standard (29 CFR 1910.37).  St Cloud School District should address these design criteria relative to any new construction or renovation activities.

    In addition, St Cloud School District should consider adopting policies to address the questions and concerns of parents, the community and media personnel after an emergency situation occurs.

    Plan Review and Updated Report

    Emergency Action Management Plan Update Report

    Program review and changes are documented below. Documented reviews indicate that the plan continues to meet the needs of the District, or has been modified to do so more effectively.


     Date  Updates/Notes  Reviewer

    Uploaded MN DPS updated school fire, tornado and lockdown drill instruction & record

    D. Evacuation Procedures:

    •  primary and secondary evacuation
    • AEDs

    F. Fire Drills

    • 2 more drills by Thanksgiving Break

    App. G:  2014 Delayed and Staged Evacuation Strategies for                 Schools

    App. J:  2014 MSBA 806 model crisis management policy
      Added Lockdown and procedures under standard procedures

      Wayne Warzecha



    Emergencies include fire, bomb threat, civil disturbance, severe weather, medical (accidents, injuries), chemical spills, elevator shut down and facility-related (such as – gas leak, water leak).

    Emergency Escape Route means the route building occupants are directed to follow during an emergency evacuation.

    High Hazard Contents include any building materials or other substances which will burn rapidly, explode or produce fumes in the event of a fire.

    Means of Egress is a continuous, unobstructed exit or pathway from the facility to the outside or public way.  The exit includes the exit access and exit discharge areas.

    Emergency Action Procedures

    A. General

    The following are general procedures which apply to all Central MN School Districts facilities relative to means of egress or emergency exits.

      • Do not rely on exits alone, rather in combination with other safeguards in case any single safeguard becomes ineffective (such as – power failure or damage).
      • Each facility should be equipped and maintained to avoid undue danger to the lives and safety of occupants during an emergency evacuation.
      • The minimum width of any exit access shall not be less than 28 inches and a ceiling height not less than 7 ½ feet.  In addition, if exit doors exist, they should swing in the direction of outbound travel.
      • Exits should be unobstructed at all times and never locked or fastened in a way which prevents escape from inside.
      • Every exit should be clearly visible with letters not less than 6 inches in height with principal strokes not less than ¾’s inch wide.
      • Every exit sign shall be suitably illuminated by a reliable light source giving a value of not less than 5 foot-candles on the illuminated surface and not less than 25 square inches of area.
      • Exits should be adequately illuminated with emergency lighting capacity to account for power failures.
      • All doors or pathways not providing an exit (especially those leading to dead-end spaces or storage rooms) shall be labeled accordingly or with “Not an Exit” to avoid any confusion as an emergency exit.
      • Exit access should be routed to avoid travel through any area of high hazard content(s) unless the area is effectively shielded.
      • Each facility should have the appropriate number and location of exits relative to the type of structure, occupancy load and protection equipment available.  At least two distinct exits should be present if the reasonable safety of building occupants is in danger during an emergency whereby one of the exits becomes blocked.
      • Avoid accumulations of combustibles which can cause large fires or dense smoke.
      • Do not introduce any flammable substances during repair/alteration work which may create any additional danger or prevent egress while the building is occupied without safeguards provided for.
      • No facility under construction should be occupied until all exits are in place and ready for use.  No building undergoing renovation/alteration should be occupied unless all exits and fire protection equipment are continuously maintained or other measures are taken providing an equivalent level of safety. 

    B. Staff Responsibilities

    Emergency Coordinator Responsibilities

    The Central MN School District shall designate an Emergency Coordinator, preferably one individual for each building, who will serve as the primary contact.  The Emergency Coordinator should be fully knowledgeable on the facility and its operations.  In addition, the Emergency Coordinator should hold an authoritative position and be readily available (such as – a principal or buildings and ground coordinator).

      • Activating the alarm system
      • Oversee evacuation of facility and account for all building occupants
      • Notification of first responders (police, fire) and medical providers
      • Shut down of building systems where applicable (including internal video TV shut down of broadcast signals)
      • Periodic audit of the facility for high hazard contents.

    The Central MN School District will post emergency contact numbers in readily available locations throughout each facility.  Contact names and phone numbers should also be listed for any after hours emergencies.  A reference Emergency Contacts list is available in Appendix C of this Plan.

    Administrator Responsibilities

    In the case of a fire emergency, it is the responsibility of the school building administrator or superintendent to report the incident, even if it is a false alarm, to the local fire department.  This is required by Minnesota Statutes 299F.452.

    Teacher Responsibilities

    In the case of a fire emergency, it is the responsibility of the school building administrator or superintendent to report the incident, even if it is a false alarm to:

      • Verify information
      • Warn students
      • Account for all students
      • Stay with students during evacuation
      • Take class roster and emergency go-kits.
      • Refer media to district spokesperson or designee
      • Keep detailed notes of crisis event
      • Keep staff and students on site, if possible, for local investigators so interviews and accurate documentation of the events can be completed, if event warrants.

    C. Alarm System

    An audible alarm or voice (phone) system should be available to all occupied facilities for evacuating purposes.  The system should be capable of alarming individuals in all parts of the building.  In case of power failure, a back-up power source, alarm system or portable system should be available.

    It is imperative that all building occupants are aware of the alarm as a signal to evacuate the building.  All alarms should be treated as a “real” emergency.

    St Cloud School District should periodically test the alarm system in accordance with local fire department requirements.  In addition, each facility should conduct both announced and unannounced fire drills to evaluate the effectiveness of the system and the evacuation procedures in place.

    St Cloud School District will establish notification procedures to accommodate any deaf building occupants.

    D. Evacuation Procedures

    A detailed floor plan and description of each area will be available and posted in designated locations for each respective building. See sample Fire Safety  & Emergency Evacuation Plan in appendix H. This floor plan (map) should include, as a minimum, the following:

      • Primary and secondary emergency evacuation routes and exits for each section of the building
      • Special hazard locations or high hazard contents (for example – chemical storage cabinets, storage tanks, etc.)
      • Location of fire alarms, fire protection equipment (fire extinguishers, hoses, fire control center), sprinklers
      • Primary mechanical, electrical control panels and utility panels
      • Exit discharge holding/waiting areas
      • AEDs

    When an emergency situation such as a fire or chemical spill develops within the facility, a St Cloud School District employee in the immediate area of concern should immediately contact the building’s emergency coordinator (contact).  The situation is then assessed for the appropriate level of response and whether the alarm system is triggered to evacuate the building.  For example, in case of a small fire, a trained school district employee or other designated individual may put out the fire with a fire extinguisher and thereby avoid evacuating the entire facility.  Likewise, a chemical spill may be cleaned up without having to call in a response team (refer to your school district’s Hazardous Waste Management and Employee Right-to-Know Plans).

    The following are general procedures to be implemented for all emergency situations.

      • All building occupants should remain calm; they should not run or panic.
      • Building occupants should evacuate the building using the designated exit routes as identified on floor plan.  Avoid entering smoke-filled areas if possible.
      • The last person leaving a room should close the door when leaving to minimize the potential spread of fire or smoke.
      • All evacuated occupants should never re-enter the building until the “all clear” is given by the emergency coordinator.
      • The emergency coordinator should stay behind to verify everyone has been evacuated and that equipment/systems have been shut down where applicable.

    Note: St Cloud School District shall designate certain employees to be responsible to assist any handicapped individuals during emergency evacuations.

    The following are standard procedures to be implemented for specific types of emergencies.

      • Tornadoes
      • Bomb Threat
      • Elevator Emergency
      • Fire
      • Lockdown


    Schools are required to do one severe weather drill during the school year.  During a tornado watch, where weather conditions in the area are such that a tornado could develop, the emergency coordinator should track the status of the watch.  In the case of a tornado warning, a tornado has been actually spotted and potential danger to life and property exists.  Defense sirens in the area will sound an alert when the National Weather Service gives a tornado warning.  

    Tornado Drill: The school must conduct at least one tornado drill annually.
    The following are standard procedures to follow during a tornado warning (tornado moving in direction of facility).

        • Occupants should move away from outer area, particularly away from doors and windows.  In addition. Stay away from shelves or other items which can tip over.
        • Occupants should avoid use of any elevators should all power go out.
        • In a multi-story building, occupants should proceed to the center of the first floor and sit down and remain low.  If caught in the perimeter of the building, take cover under heavy furniture (desk, table).  If unable to re-enter building from outside, lie down on the ground, preferably in a low area or other depression.
        • Protect your face from any flying glass or other objects.
        • Remain still after tornado passes until the scene has been surveyed for other immediate hazards (such as – fallen electrical wires).  Take note of fallen debris when exiting.

    Bomb Threat

    The individual receiving the bomb threat call should try to solicit as much information from the caller as possible, including:

      • Location and packaging of the bomb
      • Type of bomb
      • Time set to go off
      • Confirm legitimacy of call (such as – coherent individual, child versus adult).

    See Appendix L for a sample guide for handling bomb threat calls, provided by the Minnesota School Safety Center.

    After receiving a bomb threat, immediately notify emergency coordinator, who will then notify the police or take other appropriate measures.

    Elevator Emergency

    Occupants trapped inside an elevator shall follow procedures outlined below:

      • Activate the alarm button present.  Any adjacent person hearing the elevator alarm should notify the emergency coordinator.
      • Do not try to force the door open.  Remain calm.
      • If a phone is available, dial the number referenced.  If the phone rings while in the elevator, answer it.

    Note:  In general, use of elevators during any emergency should be avoided given the potential for power failure.  In most buildings, the elevator automatically returns to the first floor when a fire alarm is activated.

    A school fire safety check list is in appendix I or the following general procedures should be followed at the time of a fire emergency.  These procedures should be incorporated into the specific plan for each school building:

      • Pull the fire alarm and/or otherwise, notify building occupants of the evacuation, and evacuate the building.
      • The first person who is aware of the fire should contact the building administrator and attempt to evacuate the area.  Check facility diagrams for the nearest evacuation route and safe area.
      • Close all classroom and office doors; do not lock doors
      • The building administrator will call 911 and notify the superintendent.
      • Designate a responsible adult or administrator to meet with local fire or law enforcement agents upon arrival.  Give them an update, a facility diagram and a site plan when they arrive.
      • Building re-entry can occur when authorized by fire official in charge or it has been determined that no emergency exists.
      • The building administrator or superintendent will report the incident (even if it is a false alarm) to the local fire department.


    Critical Information

    Lockdown procedures are used to protect building occupants from potential dangers in the building (e.g. threats, intruders) or external threats that may enter the building.

    Lockdown with Warning occurs when there is a threat outside the building or there are nonthreatening circumstances that people need to be kept away from (e.g. medical emergency or disturbance). Lockdown with Intruder occurs when there is a threat or intruder inside the building.

    When implementing Lockdown with Warning procedures:

    Building Administration:
    • Announce “lockdown with warning”
    • Repeat announcement several times
    • Be direct. DO NOT USE CODES
    • Bring people inside
    • Lock exterior doors
    • Control all movement
    • Disable all bells
    • Direct any movement by announcement only
    • Announce “all clear” signal when the threat has ceased

    • Lock all exterior doors
    • Cover exterior windows*
    • Keep students away from windows
    • Continue classes. Move on announcement only
    • Wait for further instructions
    * Check with local law enforcement agencies regarding the covering of windows and doors.
    When implementing Lockdown with Intruder procedures:
    (these actions happen rapidly)

    Building Administration:
    • Announce “lockdown with intruder”
    • Repeat announcement several times.
    • Be direct. DO NOT USE CODES
    • Call 911 and notify law enforcement
    • Direct all students, staff and visitors to the nearest classroom or secured space
    • Classes outside the building SHOULD NOT enter the building
    • Move outside classes to primary evacuation site
    • DO NOT lock exterior doors
    • Announce “all clear” signal when threat has ceased as authorized by law enforcement

    • Clear all students, staff and visitors from hallways immediately
    • Report to nearest classroom
    • Assist those with special needs accommodations
    • Close and lock all windows and doors
    • DO NOT LEAVE for any reason
    • DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR for any reason
    • If a fire alarm has been activated, do not evacuate unless fire or smoke is visible
    • Shut off lights
    • Stay away from all doors and windows
    • Be quiet
    • Wait for further instructions  

    E. Fire Protection Equipment

    Depending on the size, occupancy and use of each building, some forms or combination of fire protection equipment should be present.  These may include smoke detectors, fire hoses, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers or fire doors.  The Central MN School District shall ensure that all fire protection equipment is in proper and continuous operating condition, is regularly tested and inspected.  In addition, the Central MN School District shall verify all systems meet local and state building code requirements.  An inspection and testing program for fire protection equipment is in appendix M.

    F. Fire Drills

    Fire drills should be conducted at varying times and in varying conditions simulating various emergencies, conditions and combinations at least five times during the school year (ideally, a minimum of 5 per school and one within the first ten days of the start of school and two drills should be conducted by the Thanksgiving break).  All District staff shall participate in the drills.  Summer school will require two additional drills.

    See Appendix E for The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s “School Fire Drill Instructions and Record.”

    Records will be maintained on the building premises for review by the local fire department and shall include:

      • Date fire drill is scheduled
      • Date and time of each drill
      • Name of each person conducting the drill
      • Evacuation time
      • Number of occupants
      • Weather conditions
      • Other information relative to the drill.

    G. Medical Assistance

    St Cloud School District should designate individuals to serve as first responders at the scene of an accident or injury.  Their role is to provide aid to the victim until medical help arrives.  This may be the nurse (if one is on site) or any other individual(s) trained in standard first air and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

    St Cloud School District should coordinate emergency service with a local medical provider should any emergency situation arise.  In addition, medical consultation and advice should be available from the selected medical provider.

    Each facility should have a minimum of one fully stocked first aid kit where a nurse’s station is not available.  A spill kit should also be available in each facility where hazardous chemicals are used or stored.  This spill kit typically will consist of the following:

      • 55-gallon drum with sealable lid
      • Sorbent materials
      • Sorbent pillow
      • Protective boots, gloves, coveralls, face shield and respiratory protection.

    Note:  Only trained spill response team members should address chemical spills.

    H. Visitor Control

    St Cloud School District will establish a system (if not already in place) to track all outside visitors in the building.  Typically, this consists of a sign-in sheet with the person’s name, time of arrival, time of departure and who the person is contacting. 

    In cases where an outside visitor is in the building for a short time, the school employee being visited should be responsible for assisting the visitor during an emergency evacuation.  In cases where an outside contractor will be in the facility for a longer period of tie or a visitor frequents the building on a regular basis, St Cloud School District should ensure that these individuals are familiar with the facility’s floor plan and emergency exit routes posted.

    In addition, during an emergency evacuation, the emergency coordinator shall restrict all visitors or other general public from entering the facility until the “all clear” is established.

    I. Annual Review

    The superintendent or Designated Person shall present a summary of this program to the School Board for review and approval on at least an annual basis.


    School Preparation for Emergencies


    • Designate a safe area at least 100 feet away from the building and away from fire lanes.
    • Each building’s facility diagram and site plan will be available in appropriate areas of the building showing the most direct evacuation routes to the designated safe areas, and location of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, hoses, and water spigots.
    • Teachers and staff will be trained regarding the main emergency evacuation routes and alternate routes from various points in the building.  St Cloud School District will develop a universal signal to indicate a blocked entrance.  When this signal is given, the responsible adult must immediately identify an alternative route.


    All St. Cloud School District employees shall receive training on the following components of the Emergency Action Plan.

    • Review of the alarm system including activation of alarm system
    • Emergency escape route and exits
    • Emergency procedures for fire and tornadoes
    • Designated emergency coordinator
    • Re-entry requirements
    • Name and telephone number of Emergency Coordinator

    In addition to the above, all St Cloud School District employees shall receive the following training as part of new employee orientation and at least annually thereafter: Specifically addressing the buildings in which they are assigned to work.

    • High hazard contents or areas
    • Fire protection equipment and its location
    • Location and use of fire extinguishers
    • Identification of fire alarm signals
    • Emergency coordinator responsibilities and provisions for when the emergency coordinator is not available
    • Emergency Contacts list
    • Evacuation procedures and special roles and responsibilities
    • First responder assignments (chemical spills and medical emergencies)
    • Visitor’s Control Program
    • Post emergency response criteria to deal with fear, trauma, etc.

    In addition to the above, those employees with specific emergency duties shall receive the following training as part of new employee orientation and at least annually thereafter:

    • Assigned specialized duties during emergencies
    • Evacuation route selection, both primary and alternate/secondary routes
    • Areas of refuge
    • Exterior assembly areas
    • Procedures for leading groups
    • Assisting individuals to evacuate.


    Building employees shall receive training initially before working in the building and annual refresher training thereafter.  In addition, special training may be required if facility changes occur (for example, emergency escape routes altered, new high hazard areas or change in the Emergency Action Plan itself).

    To evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Plan and ensure building occupants can adequately respond to a “real-life” emergency, periodic evacuation drills should be conducted.  The emergency coordinator should thoroughly review and critique the results of the drill to evaluate the impact of the training program.

    A training log is in Appendix B.  St Cloud School District shall retain all training records for two years (minimum).

    Information to Submit to the Local Fire Department

    St Cloud School District will comply with Community Right To Know requirements (see separate written safety plan) and update the following information at least annually and submit it to the local fire department for review by the fire chief:

    • Procedures for reporting emergencies and notifying the fire department
    • Procedures for relocating and evacuating the building occupants during an emergency
    • Names of Emergency Coordinator, contact phone number
    • Staff member duties during an emergency (for example – who’s assigned to insure classroom is vacated, who’s talking that day’s attendance list along, etc.).  Also see Staff Responsibilities.
    • Floor plans identifying the locations of:
      • Portable fire extinguishers
      • Other manual fire-extinguishing equipment, including hydrants, stand-pipes, smoke detectors, sprinkler heads, gas shutoff valves
      • Manual fire alarm pull stations
      • Fire alarm control enunciator panels
      • Primary and secondary routes of evacuation for each room (or portion)
      • Interior areas of refuge
      • Exterior assembly areas for each evacuation route.


    Appendix A: Emergency Action Plan Compliance Checklist

    The following checklist is intended to provide a quick reference for St Cloud School District to evaluate their level of compliance with OSHA’s Means of Egress standard (29 CFR 1910.35-1910.40).

    • Develop customized written Emergency Action Plan.
    • Establish and post emergency routes and exits.
    • Put in place alarm system and/or fire protection equipment.
    • Designate an emergency coordinator for each facility.
    • Identify high hazard contents and areas.
    • Establish evacuation procedures.
    • Identify medical providers and first responders.
    • Develop Visitor’s Control Program.
    • Train building occupants on emergency procedures.


    • Implement the Fire Prevention Plan. (see page one)

    Note:  This checklist is not intended to be comprehensive in nature.  St Cloud School District should refer to its respective Emergency Action Plan which further outlines general compliance requirements.

    Appendix B: Training Log & Agenda


    Appendix D: OSHA Means of Egress Standard

    OSHA 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E - Means of Egress

    Appendix E: School Fire, tornado & lockdown Drill Instructions & Record

    School Evacuation Drill Issues

    What does the law say?
    Minnesota Statutes, section 299F.30, subd. I, requires each superintendent, principal or other person in charge of a school to instruct and train the students and other occupants of the building to quickly and expeditiously leave the building in case of fire or other emergency by means of at least five drills or rapid dismissals each year.  One within the first ten days of the school year, and two additional fire drills for summer school.  Written records of these drills are required to be posted and available for review by the state fire marshal at all times and must include the drill date and the time required to evacuate the building.

    Section 13.301(c) of the Minnesota Uniform Fire Code (MUFC) requires that fire drills include the complete evacuation of all persons from the building.  MUFC(91), Sec. 13.30(e) requires that fire drills be initiated by activation of the building fire alarm system.

    Basic fire drill concepts

    The main purpose of fire drills is to acquaint the school’s students, teachers and staff with the location of the building exits and train them on what they are expected to do in an emergency.  Some major factors to consider include:

      1. In order for drills to most effectively serve there intended purpose, all building occupants must participate.  If a drill is considered merely as a routine exercise from which some persons might be excused, there is a danger that in an actual fire the drill may fail its purpose.  (i.e. Persons used to staying in the building during drills may not know what to do and where to go under actual emergency conditions). The issue of whether some occupants should be allowed to be exempted from drills or participate in modified drills because of their physical disabilities and the danger of injuring occurring during drills needs to be discussed. The role any type of internal school emergency response team might play in this should also be discussed.
      2. Drills should be conducted at different times of the day to avoid distinction between drills and actual fires.  Drills always held in the same way at the same time lose much of their value.
      3. Drills should be conducted under varying conditions to simulate the unusual conditions that occur in case of fire (e.g. assume that a path of exit travel is “blocked” by fire, requiring the students and staff to select an alternate path of travel).  It’s important that the building occupants be bale to adjust quickly, and without confusion or panic, to changing conditions.
      4. It is recommended that several of the required drills be conducted in the early months of the school year to acquaint the building occupants early on with the location of the exits and the proper procedures to follow.
      5. Fire drills should be unannounced, again in order to avoid confusion between drills and actual fires.  Since the first couple of drills each year might be considered more for familiarization, it would be acceptable practice to announce those drills.  The element of surprise should be used for all remaining drills, as this would provide results that most closely resemble those which could be encountered under actual fire conditions.
      6. Where there are before-school or after-school child-care programs that handle students and/or staff that don’t occupy the building during normal school hours, separate drills should be held for those programs as well.

    Basic emergency plan concepts: A good emergency plan incorporates four basic concepts – rescue, alarm, confine, and extinguish:

    Rescue:  The Number One Priority: is to rescue person in immediate danger.

    Alarm:  The fire alarm system needs to be activated to alert everyone else in the building that there is a problem so that the building can be evacuated, assistance can be obtained in rescuing persons in immediate danger and the fire department can be notified.

    Confine:  As each room is vacated, the door should be closed to help confine fire and keep the exit system clear of heat, smoke and toxic gases.  Room doors should be kept closed at all times when they are unoccupied.

    Extinguish:  Fires should be extinguished only if safe to do so.  If a fire can’t be put out within 30 seconds of the time it is discovered, it most likely is too large to be handled by portable extinguishers.  Everyone should leave the area and the fire should be handled by the fire department.

    Emergency Plans

    There should be an individualized emergency plan for each school.  In addition, it is strongly recommended that primary and alternative escape routes be posted in each room used by students or staff.  In addition to the basic concepts mentioned earlier, some of the major components and points that should be incorporated into the emergency plan include:

      • Provisions need to be made for the safe evacuation of persons during all times the building is in use, including events taking place before/after normal school hours (e.g. sporting events, adult education, community events, voting, public meetings, etc.)
      • Provisions need to be made for the safe evacuation of everyone in the building – students, teachers, staff and visitors.
      • Provisions need to be made for the safe evacuation of all persons who need assistance or cannot take action for their own self-preservation either because of a physical or mental disability.
        1. This should be part of each disabled student’ initial assessment and incorporated into their Individual Education Plan (IEP).
        2. Specific staff members should be assigned to evacuate disabled persons – students shouldn’t be counted on to play any role in this.  Back-ups need to be provided to account for staff absences.
      • On activation of the building fire alarm system, a designated person should automatically call the fire department.  This call should be made even if the alarm system is automatically monitored.  This contact serves as a back-up to the automatic notification and allows the caller to provide more information to responding firefighters as to the fire’s location and severity.  A person should also be designated to meet the fire department upon arrival to direct firefighters to the problem area.
      • When the alarm sounds, everyone should leave the building by walking brisk, quick pace.  No running, loud talking or other disruptive behavior should be allowed.  No one should stop for books, coats or other personal possessions.  No one should be allowed to remain in the building.
      • Teachers should accompany their students to ensure that everyone is out of the building.
      • Everyone should gather at a predetermined location (a minimum of 100 feet away from the building to avoid interfering with or being injured by firefighting operations). Teachers need to account for each student to make sure everyone is out of the building.
      • Staff and/or support personnel should quickly check all areas of the building to ensure that all occupants have exited.
      • All occupants should remain outside until the “ALL CLEAR” signal is given.

    Construction Alternatives to Complete Building Evacuation

    The fire/life safety requirements applicable to educational occupancies that are found in current fire and building codes are based on the concept of total building evacuation.  The strategy here is to protect lives by moving all the occupants to the exterior and as far away from the building as possible.  With current full inclusion and ADA mandates, building populations now include persons who need assistance or are incapable of taking action for their own self-preservation because of physical and/or mental disabilities.  Because of security and safety concerns, school exit doors are now being equipped with locking hardware which restricts free escape to the exterior of the building.  These factors present new challenges for school administrators and fire departments; challenges which were not likely considered when current codes were developed.  With this in mind, it’s perhaps time to consider defend-in-place strategies for schools similar to those applied to healthcare occupancies – the philosophy being to provide for early warning and suppression of fire and safe areas within the building itself, rather than evacuation to the exterior.  Some possible alternatives to consider [for purposes of discussion only at this time]:

    Nonsprinklered Buildings

        • Create horizontal exits within the building that conform to the provisions of Sec. 1008 of the State Building Code (i.e. walls must be of two-hour construction and all openings protected by one-and-one-half-hour rated fire-doors; such exits can’t constitute more than half of the total number or required width of exits).
        • Construct areas of refuge within the building conforming to the provisions of Sec. 1104 of the State Building Code and the following:An area of refuge should be provided on each floor above grade level and at each required exit stairway from those floors.  This would provide a choice of areas of refuge so that no one fire can block access to such an area.  There should be a door opening directly into the stairway from the area of refuge, so that rescuers don’t have to enter the fire floor to rescue trapped occupants.  Such areas of refuge must be large enough to accommodate the maximum number of persons anticipated to occupy such areas at any one time.
        • Signs should be posted indicating the locations of all areas of refuge in the building.  Signs should also be posted on the door to each room serving as an area of refuge to clearly identify it as such.
        • Rooms used as areas of refuge should be provided with automatic emergency lighting.
        • Rooms used as areas of refuge should be equipped with a telephone or some other reliable means to notify administration and/or the fire department that there are still people in the building and where they are located.
        • HVAC equipment in the building should be arranged to shut down automatically on activation of the building fire alarm system so that smoke isn’t allowed to contaminate areas of refuge.
        • Appropriate staff members should be assigned to stay with disabled persons at all times.  At no time should anyone be left alone in an area of refuge.
        • During fire drills, disabled persons should automatically be moved to the closest area of refuge instead of being moved to the exterior of the building.

    Sprinklered Buildings

        • Divide the building into smoke compartments in conformance with the requirements of Sec. 308.2.2.1 of the State Building Code (i.e. one-hour walls with openings protected by 20-minute rated smoke and draft control assemblies.
        • Provide rooms adjacent to each required exit stairway on each floor above grade level that comply with the following:The walls should be constructed to resist the passage of smoke.
        • The doors into these rooms should be at least 20-minute self-closing smoke and draft control assemblies.
        • Such rooms must be large enough to accommodate the maximum number of persons anticipated to occupy such areas at any one time.
        • Signs should be posted indicating the locations of all these rooms in the building.  Signs should also be posted on the door to each room serving as an area of refuge to clearly identify it as such.
        • These rooms used should be provided with automatic emergency lighting.
        • The rooms should be equipped with a telephone or some other reliable means to notify administration and/or the fire department that there are still people in the building and where they are located.
        • HVAC equipment in the building should be arranged to shut down automatically on activation of the building fire alarm system so that smoke isn’t allowed to contaminate areas of refuge.
        • Appropriate staff members should be assigned to stay with disabled persons at all times.  At no time should anyone be left alone in an area of refuge.
        • During fire drills, disabled persons should automatically be moved to the closest area of refuge instead of being moved to the exterior of the building.


    Elevators have long been avoided as serving any part of a required emergency exit system.  Sec. 1104.1.3 of the State Building Code now has provisions dealing with elevators as a portion of an accessible means of egress.

    There have been three major problems with elevators over the years:

        • They have been known to travel to the fire floor, placing the passengers at risk of being trapped.
        • Should power fail, passengers again are at risk of being trapped in the building.
        • Some elevators are equipped for fire department use and are automatically called to the first floor on activation of the building fire alarm system, making them unavailable for use until the fire department arrives to take control of the car.

    The appropriateness of using elevators in an emergency fire evacuation definitely bears some further discussion.


    Appendix F: State of MN Pre-Fire Emergency Planning Safety Management Program Four


    Appendix G: Delayed and Staged Evacuation Strategies for Schools


    Appendix H: Sample Fire Safety & Emergency Evacuation Plan


    Appendix I: School fire Safety Checklist


    Appendix J: Model Crisis Management Policy

    • Click here to download the Model Crisis Management Policy


    Appendix K: Emergency/Disaster Preparedness: A comprehensive School Safety Guide


    Appendix L: Threat Incident Report Form


    Appendix M: Inspection and Testing Program Fire Protection Equipment

    You can  download these documents directly from this written plan by clicking on the following links:


    Appendix N: Drill Schedule and Log