School Fire Drills

For schools attended by children, the Fire Commissioner has approved a fire drill system that consists of total evacuation fire drills held at least three times in each of the fall and spring school terms.


Section 31(h) of the Fire Services Act requires that a system of fire drills approved by the Fire Commissioner, be adopted and practised by all persons in every school, child care facility, children’s home, or other institution for the education or care of children.

Subsection 2.8.2 of the B.C. Fire Code requires that a fire safety plan be prepared in cooperation with the fire department and any other applicable regulatory authorities. A fire safety plan must include the requirement for a regular system of fire drills.

It is recommended that the local fire chief be contacted for any assistance necessary in organizing fire drills or designing a system to meet any special needs.


Principal or Person in Charge

The principal, or person in charge of the school, must instruct all staff members in the fire drill procedure. The person in charge will also ensure that all staff members have a copy of the fire drill procedure.

All corridors and stairs should be checked daily to ensure that doors are free to open and that no obstructions exist.

They must also ensure that the fire department is notified immediately when a fire alarm occurs. The emergency telephone number for the fire department should be prominently displayed near all telephones in the school.


Teachers will instruct students following the approved drill procedure, and make provision for the special care of any students who may be physically or mentally incapable of proceeding to the exits.

If a teacher leaves a class unattended, they must notify the person in charge of the nearest classroom. That teacher becomes responsible for the unattended class and will be required to take charge of both classes in the event of a fire alarm.

A teacher may appoint one or more students from the class to act as monitors in the event of a fire alarm. These monitors will check to ensure that no children remain in the classroom or cloakroom in the event of an alarm or fire. After the check, the monitors will report to the teacher and then take their places with the rest of the class.

Fire Drill Procedure

The following procedure has been approved by the Fire Commissioner:

  1. When the fire drill commences, all teaching activities must stop, machinery should be shut down, gas-and-oil- burning apparatus and appliances other than those used for heating the building should be shut off, and the students should remain still and quiet to await further orders.
  2. The teacher is to give the command STAND. Students should stand and remain silent. The teacher then takes the class register or attendance list and keep possession of it until the end of the drill.
  3. The teacher will open the classroom door, determine the route to be taken, and give the command MARCH. The teacher will then supervise the class out of the building in an orderly manner, to a predetermined point of safety. Students will remain in formation until dismissed by the principal or person in charge.
  4. Students outside the classroom and still in the building must go to the nearest corridor and join with any class or, if close to an exit, shall leave the building and report to their particular class outside the building.
  5. Once assembled at the predetermined point of safety, the teacher shall check the names and the number of students. If there are any missing or additional students, the teacher shall report this to either the principal or person in charge, giving the names, the classroom numbers and the location.
  6. The principal or person in charge must make every effort to ensure that no student remains in the school.

For more information about this bulletin, contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner.