Let me start off by saying that preschool is held in the elementary school building with all the other classes. I didn't know before hand that the drills were going to happen. The Daddy called me yesterday right after I dropped the monsters off to school and told me the radio had announced that 9,000 schools and businesses across the state would be participating in a shake down drill that day. My part of the conversation went something like, "Um, okay. Yay for them?" In all the years my children have been going to school, I have never heard of them having a shake down drill, so I thought nothing more of it. To be completely honest, I wasn't even sure what a shake down drill was. Whatever happened to calling them earthquake drills?? As a born and raised Southern California girl who had earthquake drills on a regular basis while in elementary school, I feel pretty stupid today. But, I digress.
When I picked the twinnies up from school, the first thing Logan said to me is, "Mumma, fire drills make me sad!" Since his teachers and his para were all standing there waiting for parents to retrieve their children, I asked what his reaction had been. No, there was no crying. No, there wasn't any screaming, hiding, or begging for his Mumma. In fact, even #6, (who cannot tolerate the noise of a hair dryer or vacuum, and insists that the TV volume be at a bare minimum) didn't even have a meltdown. So I thought, hey! Today was a total win!
I started doing a little research for future reference. For those of you that may not know, parents of special needs kids have the right to be given advance notice of scheduled drills. This is so appropriate measures can be planned for and taken, whether it's by preparing your child in advance with a social story, making sure that the school has headphones on hand for the child, allowing the child to be taken outside prior to the drill to lessen the trauma, or having plans in place for an adult buddy to be assigned to a child who might be a "runner" - to ensure that the child is safely escorted to and from the building during drills, always within reach and never out of sight.
Fire drills are crazy things. Alarms are shrieking, people are exiting the building in swarms, like ants from an ant hill. This is not a calm, soothing process. And we have the right to make plans and prepare our children so they don't come home with an eye twitch. If you have not already, meet with teachers and administrators to work out a plan appropriate for your child's needs. At home, use social stories, or practice what to do during a fire drill by using headphones, leading the child by the hand, or walking through the steps. After all- praemonitus, praemunitus. What's that? You have no idea what I'm talking about? That would be the Latin, people. I'm all kinds of smart today. And it means, loosely translated, forewarned is forearmed.
Images in this post from the Google. Okay, okay. The Latin is, too.