At Hitch, our top priority is educating students. We can only accomplish this if our learning environment is safe and secure. To that end, I feel this is an appropriate time to address the incident that occurred at Prussing Elementary on Friday October 30th and share what Hitch would do if a similar incident occurred here.
Last Friday, Prussing Elementary – a nearby CPS school – was evacuated due to increased carbon monoxide levels from an old boiler. I was relieved to learn that students and staff from the school are doing well, and I join with Principal George Chipain and the Prussing community in asking CPS to immediately provide Prussing with a new boiler. In this country, there is no reason for students and staff to attend school with a faulty boiler system that jeopardizes their health.
In 2009-2011, Hitch’s boiler was replaced during noise abatement construction, so it is highly unlikely that such an event would occur here.
Nevertheless, this incident serves as a reminder for the importance of safety planning in schools. At Hitch, we routinely run safety drills to prepare students and staff for a variety of emergency situations. Additionally, we support these efforts with a written safety plan that is submitted to local city authorities in case they need to assist in an emergency scenario.
In the event that Hitch staff and students have to evacuate the building, we would follow our safety plan. Below are key elements of the plan that all Hitch staff and parents/guardians should be aware of:
• Office staff announce an evacuation of the building via the intercom.
• Teachers lead students out the nearest exit.
• Hitch staff and students walk to our evacuation site:
St. Tarcissus School (6040 W Ardmore Ave, Chicago, IL 60646).
• At evacuation site, Hitch staff assist students with contacting parents/guardians to inform them of their whereabouts and – if necessary – the early pick up time/location.
• Hitch staff coordinate with local fire, medical, and police authorities to manage the incident.
• Hitch Principal manages communications of evacuation with stakeholders.
We thank you for taking the time to learn about safety planning at Hitch. If you have any questions about our plan, please feel free to contact our main office at 773-534-1189.