School Evacuation Drills

State law requires that every Texas school (public or private) conducts an evacuation drill every month of the school year.  Because we care about the safety of students, staff and visitors, each year Travis County ESD#2 fire code officials observe at least one of these evacuation drills at every public school in our area to provide constructive feedback.  We have provided PfISD principals with a form they shall use for recording all of their evacuation drills.

Travis County ESD#2 follows International Fire Code 2015, which in Sections 403 and 405 (Emergency Planning & Preparedness) requires the following for school evacuation drills:

  • PRIOR NOTIFICATION: Drills must be planned with prior notification given to the Fire Code Official.

     Travis County ESD#2 further requires that each school in our jurisdiction provides us before the first day of school their annual list of planned drills including dates and times. If a planned drill is being rescheduled, the school must provide the Fire Code Official at least 24 hours notice before the planned date/time.  Lists and any updates should be sent to our Risk Reduction educators at either [email protected] or [email protected].

  • VARYING TIMES AND CONDITIONS:  Drills must be held at unexpected times under varying conditions to simulate the unusual conditions that could occur. Drills must be conducted on varying days and varying hours of the day, including during the changing of classes, when the school is at assembly, and during recess or gymnastic periods. (Travis County ESD#2 further requires that at least half of a school’s annual drills include variable obstructed exits.)
  • OUTDOOR ASSEMBLY AREAS:  Drills must designate outdoor assembly areas that are located a safe distance from the school building to avoid interference with Fire Department operations. Assembly areas must be arranged to keep each class separate to provide accountability of all individuals.
  • USE OF FIRE ALARM SYSTEM:   Drills must be started by activating the fire alarm system, if an alarm system is present. (To clarify, the intercom should not be used for a drill unless no alarm system is present.)
  • EVACUATION Vs. RECALL SIGNALS:  Drills must use a signal (electronic or mechanical) to recall occupants to the premises that is separate and distinct from the signal used to start the evacuation.
  • ACCOUNTING OF ALL OCCUPANTS:  Drills must include efforts to determine if all occupants have been successfully evacuated or accounted for.
  • AUTHORIZED RE-ENTRY:  Drills must not allow for the re-entry of any persons to the premises until authorized to do so by the official in charge.
  • RECORD KEEPING:  All drills must be documented including the following information:
    • Identify the person conducting the drill
    • Date and time of the drill
    • Notification method used
    • Employees on duty and participating
    • Number of occupants evacuated
    • Special conditions simulated
    • Problems encountered
    • Time required to accomplish the complete evacuation