End of day blackout

Madeline Fagen, News Editor

Mr. Jeremy Klaff’s United States History students were startled when the lights began to flicker and went off during a lecture on the alleged ghosts spotted in Gettysburg after the American Civil War.  Little did they know, this was not part of the lesson plan, but instead the effects of an unfortunate coincidence of timing of an accident on Port Washington Boulevard.

At approximately 2:45 on Nov. 17, wires on the corner of Port Blvd. and Derby Road began curving and eventually fell due to the bad weather, according to Mr. Ray Ryan, Chief of the Port Washington Fire Department.  This caused power to go out in the neighboring communities and in some parts of the school.

“At first we lost partial power and then found out there was an incident on Port Blvd,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.

Administration immediately took action to ensure that students and teachers were safe.

“We were trying to decide whether or not to hold after school activities because part of the building was dark,” said Mr. Miller.  “This is potentially unsafe.  Then, after the bell rang ending the school day, all power was lost.  It was dark and clearly not safe to have students in the building.  The school day had already ended so all we did was cancel after school activities and tell everyone to go home.  It was a precautionary measure.”

An announcement was made that an additional exit from the Schreiber parking lot at St. John’s gate would be available to relieve congestion on Campus Drive of all faculty members leaving at once.

A crew immediately came on the scene at Derby Rd. to restore power. While they worked, students exited the building in the dark.

“Walking through the halls in the dark was actually a little but frightening,” said junior Amy Zack. “A lot of kids were screaming in the halls as they exited, probably just to be disruptive, but it certainly added to the disorder.”

Moments after all clubs were canceled and students were asked to leave, the power was restored.

“While power returned a short time later we did not have full confidence that the power would remain on so we continued with our cancellation,” said Principal Mr. Ira Pernick.  “We cannot have any students or staff in the building if there is no power.”

Despite recent evacuation drills, some students are still unaware of what to do in the event of some emergencies.

“Although students participate in plenty of drills to know what to do in the event of a serious emergency, we are not readily informed about what to do under smaller-scale conditions such as a blackout,” said junior Casey Lynfield. “I think the school should spread information about what is expected of us in different situations.”

Despite students’ slight lack of preparedness, many agree that the school handled the situation in the best possible way.

“Canceling clubs and asking everyone to leave was a smart move by the school to ensure safety and reduce confusion,” said senior Sameer Nanda.