2017 and 2018 review looks at reporting on 4,025 completed drills

By Buzz Brown

In a recent study of the findings from our 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 review of tracking data on Michigan’s mandated public school safety drills, we were pleased to find improvements in timing and safety, and also some areas where schools are paying more attention to even small items that can add up to enhanced, overall security during drills – and actual safety emergencies.

Per Michigan Public Act 12 of 2014, public school districts must run safety drills 10 times each year, for each building, for the following situations:

  • Fire
  • Tornado
  • Lock Down

Note: Cardiac incident/AED checks are optional, but 10% of school districts in the study do them.

The goal of the state in introducing these mandatory drills was ultimately to ensure student safety in a variety of scenarios. In looking at data from 120 Michigan public school districts that use the Munetrix Public Safety Drill app, the drills are definitely helping to meet this goal.

Munetrix looked at data from a combined 4,025 public safety drills completed in the 2016 – 2017 and 2017 – 2018 school years from school districts that use the Munetrix Public Safety Drill app for compliance and performance improvement.  Of the 4,025 drills completed, 99% documented drill execution times and lessons-learned comments in the app.  (Note: the State of Michigan does not track the average time of public school safety drills.)

Key findings include:

  • Fire Drill average execution time improved 4 percent, from 3.25 minutes in 2017 to 3.12 minutes in 2018
  • Lock Down execution time averages improved 6 percent, from 7.13 minutes in 2017 to 6.7 minutes in 2018
  • Tornado and response times remained virtually the same from 2017 to 2018, with an average 4.1 minutes to complete


Year 2017   2018
Fire 3.25 min. 3.12 min.
Tornado 4.06 min. 4.1 min
Lock Down 7.13 min. 6.7 min.
Cardiac Incident/AED Check 4.7 min. 4.7 min.


The Munetrix Public Safety Drill app, which can also alert county emergency managers and first responders of an incident, allows for schools to submit feedback on drill results for each particular drill – and as our report shows, the overwhelming majority do. While Michigan Public Act 12 doesn’t require comments, they are an acknowledgement of how seriously school administrators approach these drills.

There were a variety of comments noted on the app, including areas for improvement, such as the need to shut doors, keep students quiet and enhance communication among staff, including substitute teachers; but the majority of feedback emphasizes how smoothly the drills went and areas that were improved over previous drills. The overall efficiency of the drill process and efforts noted for improvement are a reflection of the safety-first philosophy of Michigan’s school leaders. It’s a good example of the school community and the state working together for a common goal of student safety.

Munetrix is holding a free webinar on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 2 p.m. entitled Lessons Learned from Statewide 2018 Public Safety Drills. Register here for the webinar or visit www.munetrix.com. The webinar will also be available for viewing online after January 22.

Buzz Brown is the co-founder of Michigan-based Munetrix, among the nation’s largest aggregators of municipal and school district data, promoting municipal wellness and sustainability through its cloud-based data management tools and proprietary performance management applications.