Did Someone Say Fire Drill?

Ella Katz Going from being the green bear in Mrs. Jones’ 2004 JK class who cried hysterically whenever the fire alarm would sound to being the senior who hopes the alarm goes off to get out of class, I have gained much perspective on fire drills at Latin. That said, throughout my Latin career, fire drills have always been the same deal: leave the building quickly and quietly, line up in your grades’ designated spot alphabetically etc. This 2017-2018 school year, however, the security team at Latin decided to deploy some procedural differences in the event of a Fire Drill. Many students were a bit confused when the tweaks in this plan of action were presented at a gathering within the first week of school, so The Forum decided to follow up with Mr. Guzman, who holds a senior position in security at Latin. I started by asking Mr. Guzman to clarify what it is exactly that he does in relation to security at Latin “The overall security and safety of our campus falls under the responsibilities that our group (Facilities & Operations) is charged with. Our Buildings and Grounds Director, Kevin Bohlig, works closely with the Chicago Fire Department on issues related to Fire Safety and I work with the Chicago Police Department as well as Senior Administration and our outside security consultants on issues related to the physical safety and security of our campus and all of our community (Students/Faculty/Staff)” he explained.   Although Mr. Guzman holds a more authoritative position on Latin’s Facilities & Operations team, he still confers with other employees in making important security decisions, “‘I seldom make any big decisions on my own. If it’s a matter of school policy, the Division Directors and other members of the Senior Administration are involved.” I continued by asking Mr. Guzman what exactly it was that sparked the need for change in where we line up in the event of a Fire Drill evacuation. “Why change it now?” I asked. Guzman said, “The changes to the student lineups came after several conversation over the summer. We decided it would be best to move the entire US across the street to the park.” In previous years two classes would line up at the South-East corner of North and Dearborn, which would make the path for Lower School students trying to evacuate to the park a bit difficult to navigate. Although the Upper School evacuation spot has been slightly altered in an effort to help the Lower School’s safety in the event of a fire drill, such a small procedural difference isn’t the biggest deal, and won’t majorly affect anything that is of our concern. All in all, even though you may be headed towards a different section of the sidewalk or corner of the street, when the fire alarm goes off this year, Latin’s priority remains to be ensuring that students and faculty are evacuating the building efficiently, getting to safety as quickly as possible.]]>