Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit

2.1 Drill Recommendations

Legal Considerations

As a result of the passage of Senate Bill 11 during the 86th Texas Legislative Session, TEC Chapter 37.114: Emergency Evacuations; Mandatory School Drills was added. This new section addresses emergency evacuations and mandatory school drills for public school districts and open-enrollment charters.

Specifically, it states that the commissioner, in consultation with the TxSSC and the State Fire Marshal, must adopt rules that: provide procedures for evacuating and securing school property during an emergency and that designate the number of mandatory school drills to be conducted each semester of the school year, not to exceed eight drills, including designating the number of evacuation fire exit drills and lockdown, lockout, shelter-in-place, and evacuation drills.

To be clear, this new section states that no more than eight drills may be required by the commissioner during a semester; however, districts may conduct additional drills to meet the district or school’s needs.

In addition, Texas Education Agency Government Code 61.1036 Section 3F states that school district facilities must comply with the State Fire Marshal’s mandatory school fire exit drills. Specifically, this requires that campuses conduct at least one fire drill each month that has 10 or more instructional days. This includes summer school programs, as well.

The Fire Exit Drills and Fire Prevention Education in Schools form below is required documentation that should be kept in school and/or district records for three years.

Fire Exit Drills Form

Types of Drills

Drills should be developed based on the identified specific threats and/or hazards to the district/campus. In alignment with the Standard Response Protocol, created by the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, the following emergency response actions are recommended:

Again, the types and frequency of drills, with the exception of evacuation/fire drills, should be determined by the school district based on the specific threats/hazards identified as likely to be encountered, and documented in your emergency operations plan.

Drill Recommendations

The following eight drills have been recommended by the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the drill requirements under Texas Education Code (TEC) 37.114 as created by SB11. The Commissioner Rules will be released in June 2020.

  • Drill Frequency
  • Secure (Lockout) 1 per year
  • Lockdown 2 per year
    (1 each semester)
  • Evacuate 1 per year
  • Shelter-in-Place (for hazmat) 1 per year
  • Shelter for Severe Weather 1 per year
  • Hold 1 per year
  • Fire Evacuation* 1 per year

*District should comply with local fire code mandates

8 total per year

Drill Definitions

Secure (Lockout): A response action schools take to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose a threat or hazard outside of the school building. Secure (Lockout) uses the security of the physical facility to act as protection.

Lockdown: A response action schools take to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence inside the school. The primary objective is to quickly ensure all school students, staff, and visitors are secured away from immediate danger.

Evacuate: A response action schools take to quickly move students and staff from one place to another. The primary objective of an evacuation is to ensure that all staff, students, and visitors can quickly move away from the threat. Evacuation examples include a bomb threat or internal gas leak.

Shelter-in-Place for Hazmat: A response action schools take to quickly move students, staff, and visitors indoors, perhaps for an extended period of time, because it is safer inside the building than outside. Stakeholders may be required to move to rooms without windows or to rooms that can be sealed. Shelter-in-Place for Hazmat examples include train derailment with chemical release or smoke from a nearby fire.

Shelter for Severe Weather: A response action schools take to quickly move students, staff, and visitors indoors, perhaps for an extended period of time, because it is safer inside the building than outside. For severe weather, depending on the type and/or threat level (watch vs. warning), stakeholders may be required to move to rooms without windows on the lowest floor possible, or to a weather shelter.

Hold: A response action schools take when hallways need to be cleared. Subsequent bells and any/all scheduled class changes are disregarded. Movement throughout building is stopped until an all-clear signal is given.

Fire Evacuation Drill: A fire evacuation drill is a method of practicing how a building would be vacated in the event of a fire. The purpose of fire drills in buildings is to ensure that everyone knows how to exit safely as quickly as possible.

Drill Resources

Below is a list of resources that may be used to develop a comprehensive drill program.

    Standard Response Protocol (SRP) and Standard Reunification Method (SRM) Resources

  • A detailed description of each emergency response action, along with a variety of training tools and materials, can be found on the TxSSC K-12 Standard Response Protocol Toolkit (Texas Edition) and the K-12 Standard Reunification Method Toolkit (Texas Edition).
    TxSSC K-12 SRP Toolkit
    TxSSC K-12 SRM Toolkit
    “I Love U Guys” Foundation

    Additional Resources

  • The tool below provides schools with the ability to establish a primary purpose and identify objectives to be tested prior to conducting a drill. This form can be used to answer the following questions or similar ones: Will this drill be announced so staff is expecting the drill, or will it be a surprise? Will more than one response be tested? Will a specific area or student population be tested?
    Pre-Drill Planning Form
  • One of the most valuable drill feedback methods involves the use of an evaluator. This individual can be a district level staff member or local emergency responder. The form below is a tool the evaluator can use to document observations and help determine if the campus achieved its intended objectives and provide feedback for improvement.
    Drill Evaluator Form
  • The tool below helps schools document lessons learned and evaluate performance for each drill conducted throughout the school year.
    Post-Drill Assessment Form
  • It is important to have a feedback system in place, so all participants have input to evaluate campus/facility drills. The form below allows students and staff the opportunity to provide valuable insight for administration to improve procedures and processes.
    Post-Drill Campus Feedback Form
  • Per mandate from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, each campus must complete the form below and keep in campus or district records for three years.
    Required Fire Exit Drill Form
  • Retaining documentation of drills conducted at each campus or facility is a critical practice that allows schools to track progress in meeting the district EOP drill requirements, as well as for ongoing self-assessment and audit purposes.
    Drill Documentation Form