City codes require public schools to have ten fire drills— one a month— over the course of the school year, including two within the first two weeks of school. In an investigative segment that aired earlier this week, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported less than 15 percent of Philadelphia schools performed the required ten fire drills during the 2014-2015 school year. Some schools only performed as little as two.
Records for the past two and a half years show schools recording drills on days school was not in session, including a Saturday, Christmas Eve and during the Papal visit in September 2015.
NFPA offers resources to help educators safeguard against fire. These include a lesson plan for teaching students about fire drills, and a list of safety tips for school fires. However, it remains vitally important that schools conduct the proper amount of drills. These NFPA resources build on the requirements of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code which requires one drill a month with an additional provision that two must be conducted within the first 30 days of school.
Said NFPA’s Robert Solomon, “This is one of the most important things you can do for the students and the faculty."
Watch part two of the NBC 10 segment here.