Spanish Version

Disaster Drill Guide

Social Studies Activity

In this activity, students will create an emergency drill guide that will help them know what to do in the event of an emergency at school.


  • Cassette tape recorders and tapes (optional)
  • Age-appropriate magazines, newspapers, and nonfiction books that focus on disasters
  • Poster boards (optional)
  • Colored pencils or markers, crayons


  1. Brainstorm with students a list of potential emergencies that could happen as a result of a disaster such as a flood, an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, or an explosion. Then discuss what emergency drills are and why they are necessary.

  2. Divide the class into small groups and explain that each group will make a disaster drill guide that will focus on any of the emergencies discussed. (Encourage each group to focus on a different disaster.)

  3. Suggest the following ways for students to gather information for their guides:

    • Interview members of the school staff (principal, teachers, secretaries, librarian, custodians, nurse). Find out what role they play in conducting drills and preparing for possible disasters. Encourage groups to write interview questions (in advance) that explore the staff members' responsibilities in preparation for and during an emergency drill. Some students may find it easier to tape record their interviews.

    • Invite a local firefighter and/or police officer to class to talk about the different kinds of emergency drills that students might need to know about. Again, students should prepare some questions in advance.

    • Read what others have done to prepare for different kinds of disasters. Some good sources are age-appropriate student magazines (National Geographic World), newspapers, and nonfiction books.

  4. Have students choose a format for their guide. They may wish to create a guide in the form of a large poster or make a booklet complete with pictures and a map that shows escape routes.

  5. Encourage students to make copies of their guides and pass them out to other classes. They may need to explain the guides to younger students. Students may also wish to take home a copy of their guides to share with their families.


  • Have students use their guides to practice appropriate emergency drills.
  • Have students make an emergency drill guide for use at home.

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