PHOTOS: A fire drill in Thailand
On Thursday after sports week was finished, we had a fire drill in my school. To be fair, I was warned a few hours ahead of time that at 2:30 I would need to take my class outside and keep them under control for the fire drill. No problem, I thought to myself thinking
fondly back to my own high school days where a fire drill meant a 20 minute diversion from class while we calmly left the building and the teacher took role. I stopped teaching my class a little early and prepared myself for the alarm bell, but 2:30 came and went without incident. I shrugged my shoulders thinking the school had changed their minds or I had missed it entirely and went back to my office having dismissed my class. Shortly after a teacher came in and said somewhat urgently that we had to leave because they were spraying into the building. What they were spraying she was unable to specify. So I grab my things and go out in the hall where I was met with this scene.
It was total chaos and confusion as kids were screaming and running through the hallway. In fact, it may have felt like real panic had the students not been laughing uncontrollably and taking videos on their phones. We left the building to find cops, firetrucks and medics on the scene in full regalia. There were at least 10-20 ambulances on site, another 4-5 cop cars and two full sized firetrucks. The director of our school had a megaphone and was shouting orders at people. And although bemused by the fake smoke and brigade of emergency responders, I was not altogether surprised by the intensity of the drill.
But then they start bringing out students from the building. On stretchers. Complete with fake (and rather graphic) injuries.
Noticing my laughter another teacher explains that they want to see how long it takes to get students to the hospital. This makes sense, but I continue to marvel at the spectacle as one after another students are brought out on stretchers and carried into ambulances.
By the end of the drill, I believe at least 20 students had been taken to the hospital in about 10 different vehicles. Overall, it was very fascinating to watch and the school clearly went through a lot of effort to make a realistic scenario. However, the hoard of cameras and the lack of seriousness from the teachers and students quickly shattered any illusions.
Oh and in case you’re wondering where all the fake smoke came from…