Residents all out in five minutes in fire evacuation drill

By BETH ALTENA

 

The fine weather on Thursday, September 27, was part of the plan as residents of Bishop Hills Elder Care Community where hustled out of the building in a quick and orderly manner, according to Department of Public Safety Chief Dave Jones. The evacuation drill was requested by the facility as part of routine practice to be sure the staff is proficient should an emergency occur. Jones said once the practice was requested, his department wanted to have it as soon as possible before weather became chillier this fall.

“All the residents were out five minutes after the fire alarm was pulled,” he noted. The mock-emergency was also a good time for practice for the newly-combined departments now under the title of Department of Safety. “As you see we have personnel from all three departments, Department of Public Works, law enforcement and fire,” he noted.

Jones said Bishop Hills has a prepared evacuation plan that includes relocating residents to the nearby Our Lady of Consolation (OLC) Church. “Real disasters don’t happen on bright sunny days in fall,” he said. “They happen on cold winter nights.”

Jones said the safety drill at Bishop Hills was “piggybacked” by one at the school. After residents were returned to their rooms at Bishop Hills, a similar emergency practice took place at OLC. Staff at OLC and Department of Public Safety first responders plan and practice to relocate students from the school to Bishop Hills for shelter should a real emergency take place.

“This is good timing with fire safety week coming up,” noted Jones. He said Fire Safety Week is a time to promote sound practice and sound policy for avoiding the dangers and losses of accidental fires. There were about 25 members of the Department of Safety participating in the practice.

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