Trinity College principal Br John Hilet helps clean up the school after a flood.
Trinity College principal Br John Hilet helps clean up the school after a flood.

Keeping 900 students away from school all part of the drill

CANCELLING school for 980 students because of an emergency has become like a well ordered drill for Trinity Principal John Hilet.

>>> PHOTOS: Fireys' desperate efforts to save cathedral

The principal was out getting coffee early this morning when someone pointed to a plume of smoke in the distance and asked if that was the school on fire.

It wasn't the school, but the nearby Catholic cathedral, but because of the proximity of it to buildings on the school's campus, classes had to be called off.

Trinity is hot wired to technology and so word was sent out via SMS, Facebook and the school's website and just 50 to 60 students arrived at school and were being supervised until parents could be notified.

>>> Bishop 'last to know' about cathedral blaze

Due to floods and other emergencies, Mr Hilet said the school had a well rehearsed emergency plan to swing into action.

"Basically, the concern from emergency services was, given the age of the buildings in the vicinity, if the fire got out of hand it could spread fairly quickly," he said.

"We also couldn't have students moving past the front of the cathedral and we can't fit 980 students on one site so the decision was made to cancel classes."

Mr Hilet said the school's emergency services procedure was "very well thumbed" and the news that classes had been cancelled "travelled fast".

At this stage, he expects school to re-open for classes on Monday, but please check with the school and wait for notifications via the website and social media.