The Government totally refutes any allegation by the GSD that the new schools lack adequate evacuation procedures. As confirmed by the Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi, in Parliament in December, each new school has an established fire safety evacuation management plan which includes emergency evacuation procedures. The Minister also confirmed that the procedures have been devised in close consultation with the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service and the Head Teachers who are responsible for implementing the plans.
Last week Westside School was evacuated to the designated muster point at Commercial Mole Road when the fire alarm went off. The school had previously carried out familiarization trips to Commercial Mole Road and established the procedure and protocols to safeguard the students’ safety during an evacuation to this area. Thanks to this groundwork the evacuation was well organized and coordinated. Staff were present at key points to ensure students’ safety and supervision. Class registers were available to enable form tutors to check that all students were accounted for and had safely exited the building. Designated Fire Marshals checked pupil numbers and coordinated the evacuation. It is totally untrue, therefore, as suggested by the GSD, that there was “total chaos” or, indeed, any chaos during this evacuation. On the contrary, the last week’s evacuation showed that plans exist and work.
Whenever an evacuation such as this occurs, consideration will be given to how plans can be improved. As a result, further muster points have been identified in the Devil’s Tongue area and Varyl Begg Estate. These alternative points meet the approval of the GFRS and the schools’ senior leadership team. Today, Westside School is in the process of carrying out familiarization trips with each individual year group to the new muster points. Bayside will do the same next week.