Friday 14 October 2011

This afternoon our school participated in a Ministry of Education-mandated "Controlled Student Release", and it went very smoothly for the most part. There were a few kinks that needed to be worked out, but we were fortunate to have the North Shore Emergency representative (Bernadette Voit) overseeing our process and making suggestions. As a result we feel we learned some valuable lessons.

When a major earthquake happens, however, we won't have several weeks notice, will we?! Under those potentially severe conditions, our school staff, and our students need to know what to do. Those who participated today are much better prepared for having gone through the drill, and learned those lessons.

We hope you, as a parent, are better prepared too!

I recall a few years ago when my own children were attending Upper Lynn and a similar controlled release was scheduled. The parent community was told that the streets could be impassable in a real earthquake with fallen utility poles and trees. To make things worse,  emergency vehicles (fire, ambulance, police) could never get to the school if the school streets were littered with parent cars who had come to pick up their children. Therefore, we parents were asked to either walk, or park several blocks away and walk the rest of the distance to pick up our children. I had the day off that day, so I chose to walk. Because I walked, I never thought to bring my wallet, until I was asked by the school personnel to show Photo ID. No photo ID = no pickup of kids. Back I went home to get my wallet, and then back to the school to get my children.

That little bit of inconvenience that practice day resulted in me learning an important lesson as a parent. When the real thing occurs, I won't be caught without ID… but only because I participated in the drill that day years ago.

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