October 16th, 2007
10:09 PM ET

Do Drills Matter?

It seems like there've been school fire drills since they invented schools and fire.  I remember the worst ones being in the middle of winter, though they still gave us a chance to meet up with our friends outside...

You know there are good intentions behind emergency drills – you can never be too rich, good-looking, or safe! – but do they matter to you?

Today, you heard Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff say, "If you're a football team and you never actually play a scrimmage game, you're never going to know what's working and what's not working."  That's true enough for sports, but does the same apply to school drills?  Think about lockdown and tornado drills:  Do you feel more prepared by them, or are they just a chance to get out of class for a few minutes?  ...Or both?

Filed under: Feedback
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Luz

    I believe drills such as fire drills which are held at our school once a month are not effective. Kids just dont seem to care. They actually take the time during a drill to stop and talk to their friends and even roam around the class. The only thing it has helped is to know which door to exit from. I think they are a waste of time and are taking time away from our education.

    October 17, 2007 at 2:26 am |
  2. cavin

    I think drills are very important!!! They help people learn what to do in case of an emergency.

    October 17, 2007 at 8:41 am |
  3. scott

    the drills matter because if there is another 9/11 we need to be ready.

    October 17, 2007 at 8:45 am |
  4. Elizabeth

    I think that the drill does matter if it is something like a firedrill in the schools but like it said on the video the drills arnt helping with the government. The lock downs and firedrills are ok but everthing else isnt because they arnt really going to help us.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:28 am |
  5. Annie & Randee

    Annie: i guess i do learn about them when we do them.
    Randee:In our school we do learn about some drills we do fire drills every once in awile and thats about the only one that we do.And sometimes they will say that is a lockdown for a drill kinda.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:43 am |
  6. Laura

    Our school doesn't do fire drills past the 8th grade! I am a sophmore in high school and I don't miss drills at all! the only good thing bout them was getting out of class for ten minutes!!! I don't think that having a drill that is planned helps at all because you know whats happening and you don't have all the scares of being in a real drill. Your reactions would be so different when your scared and the school was burning down all around you!

    October 17, 2007 at 10:45 am |
  7. Aprille

    Yes drills do matter. They're important because they teach students what to do during an emergency. But during these drills no one seems to care.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:46 am |
  8. Matt

    We do not do drills at our school so i wouldn't know!.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:47 am |
  9. Kayla

    Well i think that the drills are very good because if something did happen then us kids would be prepared for what would be coming our way. (just to be on the safe side). Even though it might waste time from teaching, who cares, because its us kids that might be in danger if anything happens! So yes drills arre very imporatant to do!

    October 17, 2007 at 10:48 am |
  10. Hardin High School

    I think that drills are important because if any school shootings happen then you would know what to do.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:48 am |
  11. Ronnea

    I think drills like lock downs and fire drills are important because if there is a real emergency everybody would no what to. But when you have lock downs or fire drills people dont take it seriously.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:50 am |
  12. Jessica

    The drills we do in school are RETARTED!!!! They are so fake the fire drill bell will go off and we all walk out like nothing is wrong. We all go see our friends. We don't do anything but fire drills in our school we use to dolike lockdown and intruder drills but our school don't do anything anymore.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:52 am |
  13. Skyler

    I think the drills are very effective in our school. We simulate the drills as if there was a real emergency. Our teachers take the drills seriously which in turn helps students to understand the importance of our safety.

    October 17, 2007 at 10:52 am |
  14. Shaquina AKA Randee

    Drills are improtant at our school even though no one cares (including me). Last week we thought it was a drill but there really was a fire in the home-ec room, but every one did what they were supposed to do. we live in Montana so we don`t have to worry about anything big

    Get your feathers on and dance around a lil` bit student news...........aho

    October 17, 2007 at 10:54 am |
  15. Mr. Browder

    67% of my 6B Freshmen Success class believe that they do work and they serve their respective meaning.

    Katie: I don't take them serious. If there was really a fire people would be out of control.
    Chelsea: People don't take them serious because their is a slim chance of a fire starting.
    Beth: It's good that we try and prepare, but there are always freak accidents that we are not prepared for.
    Chris: Like a test, you can be prepared but still freeze up.
    CJ: We have to prepare so nobody is killed.
    Laura: Depends on the person. If 1 does not do what they are supposed to do, then it can mess up everyone else.

    That's all for today folks!

    October 17, 2007 at 11:29 am |
  16. Keith

    Doing the drills helps us prepare for real lockdowns.

    October 17, 2007 at 11:31 am |
  17. Ashley

    I think that drills are good if you practice them frequently adn with different variables, but if your not changing things up like in lock down drills at school then no one will learn anything from them. In school no one takes them seriously because it the same thing everytime. the alarm goes off everyone laughs ands pretends to be scared then goes to the apppropriate corner of the room. There they sit by their friends and talk adn screw around during the entire process. They just dont care. No one does untill its real then they say they don't know what to do cuz they screwed around the entire time. we need to improve our drills.

    October 17, 2007 at 11:35 am |
  18. Melissa

    I think drills are very important. Most of the kids at our school use it as a time to talk. It is to prepare us but no one pays attention.

    October 17, 2007 at 11:38 am |
  19. Sabrena

    I think that firedrills and other emergency drills are very important because if you actually do have a fire or something you might actually know what to do. If you don't have fire drills everybody will be freaking and everything will be in chaos.

    October 17, 2007 at 11:38 am |
  20. seth

    well yes drills are inportant they can save lives so keep doing them.

    October 17, 2007 at 12:59 pm |
  21. Tressa

    I think that, even though most of the time during a fire driil not many students pay attention, they do somewhat help. If we didn't have fire drills then no one would know where to exit or gather to check for all the students and faculty in case of a real danger. Drills are a good thing to do, if only more people would take then seriously.

    October 17, 2007 at 1:00 pm |
  22. Tania

    I think drills are important because you never know what will happen, but better safe than sorry.

    October 17, 2007 at 1:01 pm |
  23. Mike

    The drills at our school are the fire and lockdown drill. We practice them at least 10 times a year. I don't think they are really affective because we never have fires and nobody really pays attention.

    October 17, 2007 at 1:02 pm |
  24. Chelsey

    I think that fire drills are very important to everybody. If there was a fire and there were no drills that would cause a very big problem. At my school there are practice drills every year and that consists of about 3-4 every school year. Even when they are just practice fire drills, they still mean that we should take them as if their really was a fire. Fire drills most likely get us ready for a real fire.

    October 17, 2007 at 1:06 pm |
  25. Chandran

    the drills @ school are, i think very helpful and cool. The drills like help us get prepared for if a real fire or emergancy were to happen then we would be prepared and no one will get cooked. Also the drills get us out of doing work in school during the drills and yeah dats about it. Oh and your show is the foshizzle nizzle bombdiggity fresh!!!!!!!!! uh

    October 17, 2007 at 1:10 pm |
  26. Monica and Dalaney

    Our drills are run well by the teachers. Just about all the students know what to do when there is a drill. There different kind of drills.

    October 17, 2007 at 1:16 pm |
  27. Kody

    I think fire drills are important is some cases. When we practice fire drills some kids just use the time to screw around. They are important in case the actual thing does happen. Our school does practice fire drills way to much though, students should have the common knowledge if theres a fire to get out. Tornadoes arent very common during the school year, I dont think we should practice them.

    October 17, 2007 at 4:06 pm |
  28. Janice

    Yes I think drills are effective, they teach students how to act in case of an emergency. However, lots of students take this time to talk, which makes the drill kinda unnessary.
    Then again, your reaction would be different if the school was burning.

    October 17, 2007 at 4:49 pm |
  29. Sophie

    I definatly do not think these drills matter. We have been practicing them for so long over and over through elementary school that by now the studentsdont care anymore. During tornado drills, we talk and don't do what we're supposed to be doing, during fire drills we get yelled at for turning the wrong direction, and during lock down drills, it freaks us out!! I think the only effective drill is lock down. The average of tornados that happen a year in Virginia are 7, and the average of deaths in a tornado in a year in Virginia are 1. And fires are a pretty common thing all over the US, but my friends and I have never ever ever experienced a fire in our school. i have been in 5 different schools from pre-k to 7th grade and never have experienced a fire. I also think people make it so over dramatuc, like its real. Were not stupid, we know what to do by now, unless youjus moved from another place where they don't have drills. I also think its very annoying because, alright, say were right in the middle of taking a test or maybe learing about somehting important for a final exam, it interupts us. Then the drills get all the students riled up and we completely loose our soncentration! I think we need to change these drills.

    October 17, 2007 at 6:11 pm |
  30. Jacquelyn

    I think drills are important but some people don't care. They just go and talk to their friends. Some just seem to often. I think they should hold it less than every month and that the teachers don't tell the students. Otherwise they know not to walk quietly. I also think that when it's not a drill, students may run instead of walk.

    October 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm |
  31. Amaury

    I believe drills such as fire drills which are held at our school once a month are not effective. Kids just dont seem to care.

    October 17, 2007 at 6:39 pm |
  32. Megan

    I think that having fire drills at school is important especially in elementary schools. The kids there are younger and there's new kindergarten students that would have no idea what to do unless the school had drills. I don't think drills are as necessary in high schools because most of the time kids just mess around and talk to friends instead of actually paying attention during a drill. Besides that high school students are older and would know what to do in case of a fire. I think in elementary schools there should be a few fire and tornado drills during the scool year and at least one a year at high schools.

    October 17, 2007 at 7:08 pm |
  33. Ed

    Drills need to not be annoucned or planned. They are very ineffective unless only a few people know. It needs to be more realelistic and to see how everyone reacts. If they could go as far as using fog machines, for fire drills to make smoke than do it, cause then you can really see how the students, teachers, or employees will react.

    But these drills need to be their no matter what

    October 17, 2007 at 7:18 pm |
  34. Jordan

    I think it is important. Kids aren't going to take it seriously, but it has to be done. Even though unlikely, disasters do happen. The drills can prevent people from getting injured or killed. They are especially more important now that the number of school shootings is rising. Fatal disasters such as the Columbine Shooting maybe could have been handled better with safety drills.

    October 17, 2007 at 11:20 pm |
  35. Zach

    Yes drills are important because it helps the people know what to do incase of an emergency except when you do too many drills such as in our school because we have about 1-3 every month

    October 18, 2007 at 3:37 pm |
  36. David

    Drills are important because they teach people how to react to a real situation that they are practicing for.

    October 18, 2007 at 4:23 pm |
  37. Emma

    I think drills matter because if you dont know what to do when the time comes than you will probably be hurt or injured.

    October 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm |
  38. Charlotte W.

    Yes, drills do matter, it is very important for the children to know what to do in drastic situations. I do however think that at my school there are too many to the point where people don't take them seriously, and just think of them as time to miss class. Overall every school should have them, but no more than 2 or 3 a year is necessary for each drill. It's not like people are going to forget what to do. As long as teachers are aware they have the ability to direct their students if someone were to forget.

    October 18, 2007 at 5:50 pm |
  39. Alex

    Drills that prepare people for natural disasters and other security threats seem, to me, pointless. Since a drill is pre-planned and highly detailed, it lacks the chaos, confusion, and actual instincutal panic that a true security issue would pose. And what's the points of putting millions of dollars into simulating a disaster, instead of putting the money towards programs that help when an actual disaster comes around. Being proactive is important, but going to ridiculous ends in order to create the experience of a disaster that is too detailed and planned to show any actual problems, set-backs, or progress is simply not helping. How do you know things are going to happen exactly that same way?

    However, drills in school are a different matter. It's important for kids to know how to react in a situation that poses a threat to their safety and well-being, and since they don't cost millions of dollars and aren't planned out in every single little detail, they are effective and help keep the school organized. My school once experienced a minor kitchen fire, and it was good to see that everyone reacted calmly and followed the drill procedures dutifully.

    October 18, 2007 at 8:51 pm |
  40. Alex

    Think about it this way–

    If you didn't study for a test, and wasn't sure what to do, what are the odds of you flunking the test? VERY HIGH! Drills are basically the same way. They may seem repetitive and ineffective, but in truth they DO help. How many of you know 'Stop, Drop, and Roll'? And if you or your clothes were on fire, how many of you would stop, drop, and roll? Probably a lot. Because you have been told it and seen it all of your life, it has been effectively imprinted in your brain, and you'll most likely always remember it.

    October 18, 2007 at 8:59 pm |
  41. Ryan

    I think drills are important because they allow you to know were to go and what to do when something happens. It also ensures that less panic will happen among the students. They will also be aware of the dangers around them and that the shcool is doing everything they can to make sure that they are safe. So this is why i think drills are important. They tell you what to do, keep you aware, and give you a sence of security.

    October 19, 2007 at 10:56 am |
  42. tessa

    Yes, of course drills matter. If there are people who have not been to an area they may not know what to do. Doing drills may seem repetitious but there may be a new person or family in the area that doesn't know what to do, and they could get hurt or even die because they don't know what to do. Drills can save peoples lives and they should be practiced fluently so nobody forgets them. If one person forgets there may be a group of people following him that don't know what to do and he could be the one leading them to their own death. Think about the drills you do in your neighborhood and if you haven't done them in a while talk to your mayor asking him to set a date for the drill to be practiced. If he declines your offer then get together with a group of friends and practice the drills yourselves. You could either endanger you and others with you, or you may save and protects your friends, family, or even neighbors. The choice is yours.

    October 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm |
  43. dylan

    If I was in a drill and didn't know what to do I kind of be lost I have good drill at my school if they whood do the drill.

    October 22, 2007 at 9:27 pm |
  44. Zyle

    I think that having fire drills at school is important especially in elementary schools. The kids there are younger and there’s new kindergarten students that would have no idea what to do unless the school had drills. I don’t think drills are as necessary in high schools because most of the time kids just mess around and talk to friends instead of actually paying attention during a drill. Besides that high school students are older and would know what to do in case of a fire. I think in elementary schools there should be a few fire and tornado drills during the scool year and at least one a year at high schools.

    October 23, 2007 at 11:15 am |
  45. kristy sue

    I disagree with JESSICA because that might be your school but not everybodies I go to community prep in Rhode Island and our students take it very seriously.But I do agree that we should hace drills more often, but that doesnt make it RETARDED.............................................................OH YEAH HAY Carl Azuz

    October 24, 2007 at 7:13 pm |
  46. Amy

    I think that fire drills are very important in order to know what to do in case of an emergancy. At our school our administration and staff take them very seriously. I also think that during an emergency you will most likely panic and forget what to do. But, you have a chance of remembering if you have done it before. If you don't do it at all, you have absolutely NO chance of remembering what to do.

    October 27, 2007 at 9:22 pm |
  47. Kenneth in Mrs. Coffee Geography

    Yes, i do feel more prepared but they're a waste of time in the same token. Let's be serious, when a tornado or fire or something else happens, people never stick to the plan. They always make sure something goes haywire. The is no use for them, because they probably will never need to be used, but it's best to have something drawn out in case something happens.

    October 31, 2007 at 6:17 pm |
  48. Camara

    I think that drills are very important because it is important to know how to take care of your safe if there is a real danger. It doesn't hurt that you are out of class for a couple of minutes and get to talk to your friends. But the point is, is that you know how to help yourself.

    November 1, 2007 at 10:26 am |
  49. Takia

    I believe that the fire drills that we have in school are helpful in some ways. My school just recently had a fire drill on October 30, 2007. The drills do give students an idea on some of the quick escape routes from your classroom to outside where it is suppose to be safe. But on the other hand i feel like most students, incliuding myself, just like these drills because it gives a few moments to meet up and talk to friends and avoid school work!

    November 1, 2007 at 10:31 am |
  50. Takia in Mrs. Coffee's Geography

    I do believe that the fire drills are important and unimportant to students. I think students do take them seriously at times, because it does help us to know where quick escape routes are in case of a real drill. But on the other hand I also feel that the students use the fire drill time to talk to friends and avoid doing work................myself included! Also i think students don't take them as seriously as most teachers and administrators would like them to because they probably think they will never need to use the escape plan for a serious drill, even if they did no one would actually stick to the plan because everyone would be too frantic to think about what they were taught in the fire drill.

    November 1, 2007 at 2:36 pm |
  51. Brittani P.

    I think they are both, because they do prepare you for the worst of times. You never know when something will happen. They are also a way to get out of class for a few minutes, and get you out of some work. I maybe can see two drills, but about four a year every year doesn't make any sense. Don't they think that we know what to do by now. I guess I like them, because they give me an excuse to get out of class. I highly doubt South Carolina is going to have an natural disaster any time soon.

    November 1, 2007 at 2:36 pm |
  52. Camara

    I feel prepared, but I also think that drills are an excuse to see my friends that are in other classes. In South Carolina, I doubt there are many hazards, besides fires, that would occur at my school. Even if there was a fire, then I do not think that people would stick to the plan of getting in a single filed line and leaving quietly; people would be too frantic. The drills prepare you for dangers, but no one really takes the drills seriously. You never really think that something that this serious would happen to your school.

    November 1, 2007 at 2:47 pm |
  53. Brittany

    I believe in drills such as fire drill.At my school Coulmbia High we have it once a month I think that is good because we can know which door to go out of if it really happen. Some people at my school dont care the reason why I say that because when we do have it they act so crazy they separate from their class to go talk there friends.They dont listen to the princple to see if the school are safe and us.

    November 10, 2007 at 1:09 pm |