Schools utilize alternate evacuation plans so kids stay warm during bitter cold

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INDIANAPOLIS — A fire alarm went off at Franklin Central High School Monday, sending kids out into the bitter cold. Alarms also recently sounded in Wayne Township and Brownsburg. Now many central Indiana schools are making sure students have a warm place to evacuate, if need be.

Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Mike Pruitt said a broken pipe in the sprinkler system sparked an alarm at Ben Davis High School and “one of the things that happened was the kids and the staff did the right thing. We evacuated outside the building. The downside of that is with the extreme cold temperatures we’re dealing with, we don’t want them outside for very long.”

“We just got everybody thinking so we can make sure that everyone is safe and we get everybody away from any hazards that might be in the school, but we also don’t want to create a whole other issue with kids being frostbitten and being subjected to the cold temperatures.”

The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township tells FOX 59, “Our first priority is keeping our students safe, both from what might be happening inside the building as well as outside. When inclement weather makes standing outside for extended periods of time dangerous, we seek alternative shelter. We always have school buses on standby to transport students to another location if there’s not a building within a short walking distance. And each of our schools has a designated site for this purpose.”

In Brownsburg, the district has postponed planned fire drills this week because of the cold. A smoke alarm at the Early Childhood Center forced out little ones Friday, but they stayed warm in a nearby building, which is what the Superintendent’s Office says they’ll do with all Brownsburg schools while temperatures are this dangerous.

“Many people brought up that we just need to be a little bit tougher about things,” said Capt. Pruitt. “Well, we’re not used to this type of weather.”

And as hard as it is on healthy adults, imagine how tough it is on kids and the elderly.

Capt. Pruitt is making the same recommendations for nursing and retirement homes as he is schools.

Even though many districts have canceled school Tuesday, this can apply for several more weeks.

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