New Kansas Law Reduces Number of Required Safety Drills

New Kansas Law Reduces Number of Required Safety Drills

A new Kansas law will reduce the number of safety drills required in public and private schools from 16 to nine; four for fire, two for tornadoes and three for crisis lockdown situations.

A new Kansas law will reduce the number of safety drills required in public and private schools. Senate Bill 128 comes a year after the state legislature added crisis drill requirements in order to prepare students and staff for active shooters and other threats.

Under the previous legislation, schools in Kansas were required to conduct 16 fire, tornado and crisis drills this year, a rate of about one every two weeks. Some felt that the frequency of the emergency drills increased students’ anxiety and disrupted classroom learning time.

"Fire drills, tornado drills…those are fairly easy to conduct," said Terry Rombeck, director of communication for Andover Public Schools. "Crisis drills take a lit bit more effort. They take a little bit more organization planning, and they probably cause a little bit more disruption. It’s a little bit more complicated to do one of those [crisis drills] than it is to do, you know, pull the fire drill, and have the kids get outside."

The new law requires that schools conduct nine drills: four fire drills, two tornado drills and three drills for crisis lockdown scenarios.

According to Rombeck, the change strikes a good balance.

"We feel like nine drills in a school year is a good compromise number," Rombeck said. "It really should allow us to practice what we need to practice in the event of an emergency without having it interfere too often with classroom instruction."

Rombeck said the Andover District’s crisis drills aim to prepare students for a variety of potential emergencies, not just active shooter situations.

"What if a staff member fell ill in the hallway and we needed to keep kids in the classrooms while EMS dealt with them? What if there was a chemical spill and we needed to keep kids away from that? What if something happened in the neighborhood where we couldn’t go outside for recess?" he said. "It’s all sorts of different things that could happen, so we want to be prepared for all those situations."

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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    March/April 2019

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