Fire drill must haves

If your classroom is anything like mine, mastering everyday classroom routines take a lot of time, practice, and patience. Now we throw fire drills into the mix and a lot of my students are thrown off. I have found the best way to master fire drills is to do a lot of preparation with my students throughout the year.

We talk about fire drills often and practice lining up and walking out to the holding area even when we are not in an active fire drill. I mean, practice makes perfect, right? We may not have mastered fire drills yet, but we are working towards a smoother drill every time.

With all this practice, I have 3 fire drill must haves in my classroom. Which ones are you using? What could you add to help students become more prepared for fire drills?

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We know from evidence that social narratives are great for students on the spectrum. It is going to provide your students a context for what is happening during a fire drill and a plan of how they are supposed to act and react during the fire drill. I actually have a few social stories I use with my class and here's a quick roundup of some awesome fire drill social narratives I've found:
  • This interactive social narrative from Julie at Superheroes in SPED is great for some of my learners. There interactive pieces keeps them engaged while we read about fire drills.
  • I love this social story from Mary Ann at Superteach56 for my students who are better able attend to read alouds.
Using a social narrative to introduce the ideas and routines of a fire drill are a great way to prepare students at the beginning of the year. I even review multiple times throughout the year. This may even be strategically done when I know a fire drill is approaching.

We've pretaught about fire drills with social stories, but now it's go time! And with all the other students on campus filing out to the holding area all of our preteaching and practice can quickly turn into chaos. Another evidence based practice for our students is the use of visual supports and these are imperative during a fire drill.

Our students need reminders of the expected behaviors at a fire drill. I keep my visual cues on a ring attached to my fire drill clipboard I have to take out the door during a fire drill. That way they are right at my fingertips and I can use them easily.

Need some visuals? Check out this great free resource from Mary Ann at Superteach56!

Lets face it, fire drills are loud. I find them super obnoxious and I don't have any sensory processing deficits. So, if your students are like mine, the noise of a fire drill can overwhelm their sensory systems. And if you work with any students with sensory processing difficulties, you're going to need some noise cancelling headphones.

I have a drawer full of them in my classroom and one of my paras walks by them when we exit for a fire drill. Her task is to grab a handful of headphones on her way out the door.

Do you have any fire drill must haves the I left off the list? Leave a comment to let me know what you can't live without during a fire drill in your classroom!

1 comment

  1. Can anyone where I can get noise cancelling headphones without foam inserts - my students all love to pull the foam out and some students even put the foam in their mouths?


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