Power outage chaos, managable

Kids scattered at the sound of principal Bart Wegenke’s announcement to exit the building on the morning of Dec. 5. Consumer’s Energy, while working by the high school and the middle school, hit lines that caused a power outage in portions of the high school.
While it seemed like a slight problem that could be resolved in a matter of time, the problems seemed to grow. The high school halls became polluted with the smell of what some thought was gas, power was not being restored and rumors started spreading.
At the beginning of second hour, about 10 minutes into class, kids were rushed out of the building by a public service announcement rather than fire alarms being pulled. Rumors of fires, gas leaks and kids passing out began to grow.
But there were some problems with the process.
Although the announcement was made, some students and staff did not hear that they needed to exit the high school. Communication between administrators and students was not adequate to what was practiced from endless amounts of fire drills. Students were not kept in order or held in designated areas by teachers.
The cold weather and little order gave some student drivers the direct invitation to leave school before they were told school was canceled.
Were all the kids accounted for before they left? What if somebody had left and teachers thought they were still in the building? Protocol we had practiced over and over was tossed out the window.
By about 9:30 a.m., student drivers left or kids got on buses to go home. But what happened to students who live out of the district? Where were they to go? That might be something to study for future emergencies.
Communication could also have been more orderly. It is 2016. Group chats and/or the Remind app to teachers are not hard to come by to give a simple explanation as to what was going on. A small update, anything would be helpful.
Students could’ve been managed better if the fire alarms were pulled. Students and teachers alike are familiar with what is supposed to happen when that occurs.
On the other hand, nobody can prepare for an emergency. Nobody can predict an event like this. When students’ and staff’s lives and safety are in your hand, protocol is just a word. The real action, the real heroism, is what is done in the moment to keep everyone safe.
Overall, students and staff got out of the building. Teachers were calm as they waited for some kind of response to what was happening and did an amazing job keeping students calm. Meridian Township police and fire department responded quickly and in great manner, accompanied by the East Lansing fire department.
Even though the event caused chaos, everyone was safe and we got another surprise, great day off.