image001(3)COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio House passed House Bill 178, sponsored by State Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Albany). The legislation, which now heads to the Ohio Senate, would increase the number of school safety drills from one to three, with an additional session for teachers and staff. The proposed changes allow for coordination with local law enforcement.

“When schools face a crisis, our teachers and students become first responders,” said Rep. Phillips. “We owe it to our communities to ensure that school personnel are ready and able to work with local law enforcement and members of the community to protect our students.”

Currently, schools are required to have nine fire drills each year and one safety drill. House Bill 178 also reduces the number of fire drills from the current nine per year to six for schools with smoke detectors or sprinkler systems. The proposed legislation calls for safety drills and fire drills to alternate each month for a total of 9 drills. If buildings do not have smoke detectors or sprinklers, they will still hold nine fire drills.

While crisis situations are not always preventable, having a safety plan in place will help to maintain safety in the event of an emergency. The School Safety Drills bill will now move to the Ohio Senate where it will be assigned to a standing committee for consideration.