Safety for all

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Safety for all

Smitha Gundavajhala

Stop, drop, and roll. Duck and cover. Under the table.
Students carry out specific and mandatory safety drills throughout the year. There are three main drills that MVHS focuses on: fire drills, earthquake drills, and an intrusion drill. Once a month, the fire alarm is bound to ring, pulling students out of their seat and out in the open. Once in a few months, an announcement is made that “shortly, there will be an earthquake drill.” Following these words, students are expected to climb off of their seats, crawl under the table, and shrink into the fetal position. Once a year, a low buzz will capture student’s ears informing them that they have to create a blockade and hide behind that blockade because a psychopath, or raccoon, is on the loose. But practicing these three drills, and not practicing them properly at that, we are ignoring many other problems that could occur.

It is important to be both mentally and physically prepared in the event of disaster. Energy bars, water and whistles are among the things one needs to have on hand should such an occasion arise. Photo illustration by Smitha Gundavajhala.

Safety drills such as hurricane preparedness, tsunami preparedness, and general emergency preparedness are completely neglected and pushed aside as “unlikely to happen”. However, as we do this, we are completely erasing the chances for us to be safe during these types of events.

Recently, Hurricane Irene destroyed many houses and killed off many people throughout the East Coast. Imagine if such an event were to occur here in Cupertino. Imagine how many students would be clueless of what to do. The school would be in complete chaos. Although we do not live right next to the coast, we are still near places such as Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

Granted, adding in extra drills will take away from class time. However, it comes down to the question of safety for all.

Not only does MVHS eliminate the practice of some important drills, but we also practice the already established ones without much care. Instead of taking these drills seriously,students are  caught gossiping under their tables during an earthquake drill. A fire drill is just an excuse for students to while away class time, or even social opportunity for some. Some students choose not to even follow the drill at all. It is partially the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that their students are following standard procedure, however many teachers slack off. Instead of enforcing strict rules to do these drills in complete seriousness, they too brush it off.

By adding at least three more drills or spending more time on practiced drills, we may lose some “precious” time from academics. But in the end, we must decide where our priorities lie: in a book or in our own lives. Because these drills are preparation for real life, and in life, we won’t get a do-over if we don’t get it right the first time.