Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit

2.1 Drill Requirements

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 mandatory school drills for public school districts and open-enrollment charters.

Specifically, it states that the commissioner, in consultation with TxSSC and the State Fire Marshal, must adopt rules that provide procedures for evacuating and securing school property during an emergency. This includes designating the number of mandatory school drills to be conducted each semester of the school year, not to exceed eight drills each semester and sixteen drills for the entire school year. Neither this rule, nor the law, precludes a school district or an open-enrollment charter school from conducting more drills as deemed necessary and appropriate by the district or charter school. Below, is the required minimum frequency of drills by type. In addition, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools should consult with their local fire marshal and comply with their local fire marshal’s requirements and recommendations.

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

Drill Requirements

  • Drill Frequency
  • Secure (Lockout) 1 per school year
  • Lockdown 2 per school year
    (one per semester)
  • Evacuate 1 per school year
  • Shelter-in-Place (for hazmat) 1 per school year
  • Shelter for Severe Weather 1 per school year
  • Fire Evacuation* 4 per school year
    (two per semester)

*In addition, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools should consult with their local fire marshal and comply with their local fire marshal’s requirements and recommendations.

Drill Freqently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Drill Definitions

Drill: A set of procedures that test a single, specific operation or function. Drill examples include evacuating for a fire or locking down from an internal threat.

Secure (Lockout): A response action schools take to secure the perimeter of 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 to deny entry.

Lockdown: A response action schools take to secure interior portions of 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. Affected individuals 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), affected individuals 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 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 document below contains drill guidance information with considerations about what to do before, during, and after a drill.
    Drill Guidance Document
  • 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