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Ensuring Safety

The Crucial Role of Designing and Implementing Safety Drills
A+recent+evacuation+at+JP+Stevens+High+School+due+to+a+gas+leak+underscores+the+need+for+serious+emergency+management+plans.
RHIANNA BOSE ’24
A recent evacuation at JP Stevens High School due to a gas leak underscores the need for serious emergency management plans.

Designed by regulators and implemented by administration and staff, school procedural safety drills hold great significance in ensuring student safety in schools. Edison Township Public Schools abide by these regulations, and their staff maintain the safe and proper practice of these required drills on a month to month basis.

This is necessary because the safety and security of everyone remains our top priority.

— Mr. Joseph A. Ferrara


With all this information in mind, questions arise: How are these procedures performed and when do they provide life-saving help when it comes to real or potential emergencies?
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is known for its role in governing the 2,500 schools in the state of New Jersey. The board encompasses its 1.3 million students and almost 117,000 teachers. On top of providing a safe and rich learning environment for students throughout the state, the NJDOE holds the responsibility of regulating school safety drills in a timely and orderly manner for so many adults and young people. The NJDOE requires all schools to hold at least one security and fire drill each month of school operation. The department also requires that these drills be practiced during school hours and that the drills require the participation of all students, staff, and administration. As part of those NJDOE regulations, Edison High performs one security and fire drill each month.
Mr. Joseph A. Ferrara, assistant principal at Edison High, holds the responsibility of planning, scheduling, and implementing the school’s monthly security drills. At the start of every academic year, at an initial faculty meeting, training is conducted with staff members in the school. Additionally, each staff member receives an Emergency Management Procedures Manual, designed to review and explain safety drill protocols to staff and students.

We would like to also commend our staff and students for their cooperation during the evacuation process.

— Dr. Edward Aldarelli


Edison High’s fire alarm and emergency notification systems are regularly tested to discern that they are functioning properly, and are in perfect condition in the case of an emergency. When a drill is performed, staff and administration oversee the evacuation and safety of each and every individual in the building. Furthermore, the Edison Police Department (EPD) is occasionally on the scene to assess drill performance. Finally, the administrative team takes feedback from staff, the security team, and central administration to assess and alter drill procedures in the future, securing the safety of those in the building.
“This is necessary because the safety and security of everyone remains our top priority,” said Ferrara.
The continuous monthly practice teaches students and teachers the proper responses to guarantee smooth evacuations in potentially dangerous situations, where thousands of students and hundreds of staff work in one building. An example of these evacuations can be seen in the evacuation of John P. Stevens High School on February 1, due to a potential gas leak. Gas leaks can be fatal as they have the potential to ignite into a huge fire and cause oxygen deprivation or gas poisoning. With a school of around 2,600 students and over a hundred staff, a gas leak can lead to severe consequences; therefore, the ability to execute evacuations smoothly safeguards the safety of everyone.
On that day, the Edison Township Fire Division instructed the evacuation of the building due to an odor in the back of the school building. Upon investigation, the Edison Township Fire Department and the Elizabethtown Gas Company concluded that a construction crew had struck an inactivated gas line. That gas line, which has residual gas left in it, caused the odor. Fortunately, the fire department determined that the building was safe to enter, and the school day returned to normal.
Student, staff, and administration cooperation is vital for a smooth evacuation, as it establishes communication between everyone. This communication and line of order paves the way for an effective evacuation, allowing everyone to leave the building in a timely and non-rushed manner, potentially saving thousands of lives.
“We would like to also commend our staff and students for their cooperation during the evacuation process,” said Dr. Edward Aldarelli, superintendent of Edison Township Public Schools in an email to the parents and guardians of JP Stevens students. The swift evacuation, performed by building staff, security, and administration, saved their lives if the gas were to be hazardous. Monthly drills, constant practice, feedback, communication between staff, and student cooperation led to the successful evacuation, stressing the importance of such drills in school settings.

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About the Contributors
SNEHA BASU ‘27, Staff Writer
Sneha is a freshman writer for the Eagles Eye committee at Edison High School. She participates in many clubs including MUN, Quiz Bowl, and the Math Team. Outside of school, she is a figure skater and often volunteers at her skating rink as a coach for beginner skaters.
AAYUSH GUPTA ‘27, Staff Writer
Aayush is a writer and photographer for the Eagle's Eye. When not writing and taking pictures, Aayush participates in many activities such as, Model UN and the Robotics Team. Aayush has immense interest in Swimming and is on the EHS Swim Team while also co-coaching his swim team outside of school and lifeguarding at the Edison and Piscataway YMCA.
RHIANNA BOSE ’24, Illustration Editor
Rhianna Bose is one of the staff writers for “The Eagle’s Eye,” and has recently joined the newspaper in her junior year. When she is not writing for the paper, she participates in clubs such as Peacock Society, Rotary, and UNICEF, and is a prominent leader in the Art and Ceramics Club. Apart from school, she enjoys tutoring children, swimming, and participating in local art contests.
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