Emergency evacuations – ensuring efficient and reliable roll calls

The fire drill has been a familiar event throughout the lives of most people. From termly practice runs at school through to the regular office drills, we’ve all experienced the scheduled interruption to the day to file out in an orderly fashion and assemble at a designated meeting point. Clipboard in hand and donning their high-visibility vest, the fire marshall is eager to know – has every last person in the building exited the building and is safe and accounted for, in record time? 

Fire drills are a critical and mandatory part of fire safety, to check systems and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe in the event of an emergency. Yet, they are also considered a nuisance by many, seen as a disruption to the working day and met with begrudging sighs at the thought of having to stand outside in the cold to be timed and counted. There has to be a better way to streamline this process for everyone while also providing peace of mind that everyone has been accounted for in the event of a real emergency. In today’s digitally-enabled world, technology holds the key. 

Risky processes

In theory, any sort of evacuation roll call should be a swift and efficient process, whether it’s a training exercise or a real life emergency. But in reality, it’s rare for drills to be met with enthusiasm or a sense of urgency. Confusion can also slow the process down as marshals attempt to ascertain who is on site that day and therefore needs to be accounted for. In the absence of a registration system for staff and visitors, this can cause significant delays as there is no reliable method to establish who should be on the list in the first place. 

Smaller offices will naturally have greater visibility of who is on site when an emergency occurs. But is memory alone a reliable system that can be depended on when panic ensues in the event of a fire, for instance? As the team increases in size, this becomes an even greater challenge as they must rely on colleagues knowing each other’s diaries. And for places with larger numbers of people – such as schools where there will be students, staff members and often visitors present – this can cause even more confusion. As such, the potential of missing someone is significant and the time it takes to confirm everyone has evacuated the building safely grows even longer – risking potential disaster. 

The complacency and confusion that comes from a lack of a reliable staff and visitor management system could be disastrous and put people’s lives at risk. Businesses have a responsibility to protect the lives of all of everyone on site and relying on people trying to remember who should or shouldn’t be in the office that day doesn’t even come close to meeting their duty of care obligations. 

Visitor management

Traditional pen and paper visitor sign-in books are still often relied upon to keep a log of visitors to a site, but this method is notoriously unreliable when it comes to people recording the time in and out of a building. So how can they be accurately accounted for in the event of an emergency? In a panic, who will remember to collect the sign-in book and also confidently know which staff members are on duty that day? 

Moreover, with a large proportion of employers now operating a hybrid model, with a mixture of staff working on site and from home, it’s more important than ever to accurately record who is in the office so everyone can be ticked off the list if an emergency occurs, and time isn’t wasted trying to find someone who is actually working from home that day. Those businesses without a smart staff and visitor management system are needlessly putting employees’ lives at risk and keeping their drill procedures as unnecessarily inefficient and ineffective.

No one left behind

There’s simply no need to try to depend on unreliable pen and paper visitor sign-in books, or colleague memories to keep people safe. Visitor management and staff sign in apps can provide an immediate central view of all personnel on site. This enables the fire marshal to instantly view an entire list of who is on site for the roll call via any mobile device, rather than wasting time, and potentially putting lives at stake, collecting physical records of who is in the office on any given day.

The importance of fire drills is clear, especially when you consider what could happen to someone unaccounted for in a real emergency. But this needn’t be an element of employer responsibility that is considered time wasting or unreliable. With smart and affordable technology, streamlined solutions can be put in place to make sure no one is forgotten, thereby not only speeding up the process of essential fire drills, but ensuring that in the event of a real-life emergency –everyone is safe and accounted for. 

– Dan Harding, CEO, Sign In App


Special no-cost virtual events will explore current topics including inclusive learning, delivering an enriched curriculum and meeting new RSHE requirements. Guests include TV presenter Diane Louise Jordan.


Discovery Education – the leader in curriculum-aligned digital resources, engaging content and professional learning for classrooms worldwide – is launching a series of no-cost virtual events aimed at helping educators across the UK address some of the most important topics in education.


As the new term gets underway, this dynamic new professional learning programme will inspire teachers to re-imagine learning while equipping them to deal with the challenges of today’s classrooms. With over 20 events on offer between April and July, educators can choose from a wide range of sessions which can be joined live or viewed on demand at a time that suits them best.


Exploring important current issues such as building an inclusive culturedelivering an enriched curriculum and meeting new RSHE requirements, the expansive programme covers both leadership and in-classroom teaching. A series of powerful thought leadership interviews, peer 2 peer learning and discussions on classroom practice will give educators the tools and knowledge to navigate the summer term with confidence. 


Free to educators, the Discovery Education programme includes:


Learning for Now Festival – a 3 day twilight event 

o   Building an Inclusive Culture (13th May) – will explore how teachers can root out unconscious bias and ensure that inclusion, equality and diversity are championed in schools.  With special guest TV presenter Diane Louise Jordan.

o   Enriching the Curriculum (20th May) – will show how schools can build a broad and balanced curriculum that delivers real cultural capital and qualities for life. Presented by experienced teacher and author Debra Kidd.

o   Teacher as a Storyteller (27th May) – will equip and inspire teachers to create memorable learning experiences. Presented by author and experienced teacher Hywel Roberts. 


Day of Discovery: Impossible Fieldtrips – an afternoon of sessions sharing digital tools and strategies to create amazing lessons for literacy and beyond


Discovery Education NAHT Pathway – a series of events with leading teaching union NAHT, designed to empower teachers and leaders to flourish in their careers 


Tuesday Tutorials – a series of after-school, 30 minute sessions looking at how to use digital media to inspire curiosity, engagement and improve learning outcomes.


Teachers can register to attend all of the sessions for free at


Andrew Hammond, Senior Director of Learning and Community at Discovery Education said,


“It’s never been more important for educators to feel supported, motivated and encouraged in their profession. Our new learning events are designed to help teachers navigate today’s challenges and opportunities while enhancing their professional development, classroom practice and wellbeing. We’re looking forward to connecting with teachers everywhere and hope that as many as possible will join us online this term.” 


Discovery Education’s Professional Learning programme is enjoyed by teachers and school leaders across the UK and around the world.


Speaking after a recent event, Haneen Al Jaaf, a teacher at London’s King Fahad Academy said, “The sessions are brilliant, to the point, easy to follow!”  


Lorraine, a primary school headteacher from Kent said, “The virtual meeting last week was one of the most useful and relevant things I have listened to for a long time!”


Explore Discovery Education’s Professional Learning Events and book online at

Classroom space: how to maximise its potential

New research into the rising levels of pupil numbers in England suggests that nearly 13,000 more school classrooms will be needed in the coming academic year.


With September fast approaching, it’s time to consider how to maximise your school’s space so that you can accommodate the next generation of young learners.


Another point to consider is that excessive class numbers can lead to a negative learning environment with students finding it easier to disengage and harder to be heard.


So, what is the solution for conquering cramped classrooms? Ultimately, it’s in the way you use your available space. Your need to maximise your rooms capacity in a creative and tailored way that complements your subject and students.


I know what you’re thinking, where’s the money going to come from to help the school innovate its space and improve the student learning experience?


Don’t worry, with the Crown Commercial Services Framework for Furniture and Associated Services (RM6119, Lot 5) you can source a range of storage solutions that are both high quality and at a reasonable budget.


With leading British manufacturers such as Rackline on the approved list for quality, cost-effective storage solutions across the public sector, you can easily access its diverse range of products which can be tailored to suit your unique space.


Maximise your classroom’s potential and create a productive learning environment, with Rackline’s top five suggestions for the best school storage solutions:


Mobile shelving

An efficient storage system, mobile shelving is a stylish product that is perfectly suited to the learning environment. Optimise your school’s floor space with this convenient and movable solution that’s great for storing heavy loads while reducing the amount of room taken up by 50%.


Static shelving

Offering a wide range of static shelving options, Rackline can boost your storage capacity with a fully tailored product that meets your school’s specific needs. While it’s made from solid steel, the shelving is free from sharp edges which ensures you can safely store your items in a busy educational setting.


Tray shelving

Shelving systems are very versatile and can be fitted with tray support brackets to maximise storage capacity. Rackline can design and manufacture storage bays to accommodate any size of tray, from gratnells trays for the classroom to larger collection trays that are better suited to storing subject resources for art or science prep labs.



One of the most commonly seen storage examples in the education sector, lockers are popular for a reason. High quality, durable and secure, Rackline’s lockers deliver a functional personal storage system for both students and staff. Steel welded and riveted, the powder coated lockers come in a range of colours, you can even match them to your school branding.


Archive shelving

Ideal for heavy or bulky items, archive storage systems can help you to store items efficiently and neatly. Rackline’s archive shelving is great for organising gym equipment and storage cupboards allowing you to easily access and find what you’re looking for.


If you’re ready to maximise the potential of your students and classroom space, contact Rackline on 01782 770 144 or head to to transform your school’s learning environment.




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