UNIS Holds Fire Drill at Statistically Most Inconvenient Time


UNIS Holds Fire Drill at Statistically Most Inconvenient Time

By Timothy Lin, Former Editor-in-Chief

In what has been described as “one of the most agonizing 50 minutes in UNIS history,” UNIS conducted a fire drill at the statistically most inconvenient time possible, according to Fire Drill Department of New York (FDDNY) sources.

The drill, which occurred at 11:20 AM on Friday, interrupted lunch for the Junior School students, IB foreign language oral exams for T4s, a grade-wide Biology CA for the T1s, further oral activities for the T3s, and a heated volleyball tournament for the MS students, forcing the entire student body outside without jackets into the sub-zero temperatures of the coldest and rainiest afternoon of the year.

The drill drew a mixed response of surprise, annoyance, and awe from faculty and students alike. Many expressed exasperation at the especially ridiculous inconvenience that it had posed, while others admired the administration’s impressive effort to outdo the already outstanding disturbances of previous fire drills.

“Considering UNIS had conducted a fire drill just an hour before, I certainly did not expect another one on the same day,” said a Tut House science teacher who asked to remain anonymous. “That’s why I decided that 3rd period would an ideal time for my T1 bio students to take their CA, a period that would be free of interruptions. Well, I was wrong. Very, very wrong.“

Aside from the staggering amount of important interruptions that it caused, Friday’s fire drill has been noted for the particularly slow speed of its execution. By the time the fire department arrived, less than 40% of the students had actually exited the building, thanks to the efforts of various administrators and teachers who blocked three out of the four exits to the building by standing in front of the doors while holding up signs reading “silence.” This maneuver caused the the flow of students exiting the building to grind to a near halt.

“What a mess. There was backup up the B staircase all the way up to the 5th floor. We couldn’t move; we were pressed against one another like caged animals and the whole staircase smelled like body odor,” recalled a T4 student, whose IB French oral exam was interrupted and therefore annulled with one minute to go. “But even though it was a total headache, I’m actually sort of impressed by the chaos that UNIS was able to create. There was something almost beautiful in the fact that the fire drill created such unity in the UNIS community; all our bodies literally became one heaping, hot, connected mass of confusion. The cacophony of the shushes by teachers added to the atmosphere. I don’t even mind having to retake that oral exam.”

The fire drill came after years of secret research, during which the Head of School’s office precisely determined the most inconvenient time for a drill.

“We originally planned the drill to take place earlier, in mid-October,” said an anonymous UNIS official. “Many of the same conditions applied. There were a lot of exams and events that day, so there was great interruption potential; as a matter of fact the board gave the October date an inconvenience rating of 9.5 out of 10. But the weather just wasn’t miserably cold enough, so it wasn’t the best. Eventually we had to rule it out. But January…it was the perfect storm.”

“We are proud to say that years of intense planning have yielded successful results. We cross-checked schedules to make sure every grade was in the middle of something important. Everything was strategic. The teachers blocking the exits – what a brilliant trick. That put it over the edge. Needless to say, this is great cause for celebration. The UNIS administration would like to thank UNIS students and faculty for cooperating, because in the end, we can only take so much credit. It is ultimately their frustration that made the drill a great success.”

The fire drill has been since been called “excessive and burdensome” by the NYC Department of Education, which usually does not comment on extraordinary fire drills. In addition, the Guinness Book of World Records has awarded the “Most Ridiculously Inconvenient Fire Drill” title to UNIS.

In a note commending students for their aggravated performance during the fire drill, the administration suggested that future inconveniences should be expected. “While it is important to celebrate such successes, it is important to note that we, as a school community, should not become complacent. We will do our part to think of new ways to inconvenience our students further in bigger and better ways,”

With that in mind, UNIS has announced a mandatory lockdown drill to be held on Christmas, at 5:00 AM. All UNIS students must attend or they may risk expulsion.