At the December 2019 Meeting of Parliament the Hon Edwin Reyes, Opposition Shadow Minister for Education, asked the Minister to confirm that all emergency evacuation procedures in respect of new school buildings had been fully established and agreed upon by all pertinent authorities.
The reply given by Government was that they confirmed “each new school has an established fire safety management plan which includes emergency evacuation procedures. These have been devised in close consultation with the GFRS and the Head Teachers who are responsible for implementing the plans.”
It has come to the GSD Opposition’s notice that the fire alarm was set off at Westside School last week and that in implementing the evacuation procedures total chaos ensued. As a direct consequence of the situation which emerged Teaching Staff at Westside have expressed serious concerns, in particular identifying that the evacuation route and muster point proved unsafe and too congested and therefore resulted in jeopardising the safety of students. Furthermore, there were other serious issues with registers and the co-ordination of the event.
The GSD calls upon the Minister for Education to issue an immediate public statement explaining to parents, and the public at large, why, as this incident showed, there was a lack of adequate and safe evacuation procedures at the new schools. The GSD calls upon Government to provide explanations which parents deserve together with details of what immediate actions have been taken to ensure a repetition of the levels of confusion experienced by teachers and pupils, resulting in inacceptable outcomes, are never experienced again