STAFF OPINION BY MARISSA DEPINO
The fire alarm went off at 4 a.m. on Sunday at Goodwin-Kirk residence hall, sending students scattering outside. Many students stood dressed in their pajamas and some were startled wide-awake.
Some students were gathered quite close to the hall and others backed farther away. However, none of the students seemed to know where to stand or what to do after the fire alarm. Students watched as a fire truck roared up to Goodwin-Kirk Hall.
All the students knew how to leave the building, but that is where the knowledge stopped. It seemed that during the fire alarm, students were only going through the motions, but weren’t entirely aware of the fire protocols to be followed. There was a lack of communication to the students so that no one knew exactly where to go, how long to wait or when it was safe to go back inside.
Unfortunately, this shows that in the event of a major fire, many students would not exit the hall appropriately or in the safest way possible.
While there are scheduled drills throughout the year for students, there should be a plan that is made and given to the students so that they know what to do in the case of a fire.
For instance, students understand to flee the building in the case of a fire, but not all know the closest exit to them. Nor do they know how far away they should get in order to be safe after they escape the building.
Another issue was the fact that no one took charge after the fire drill went off. No one was around to tell students it was safe to go inside or if the fire was a drill or an actual fire. It was clearly illustrated throughout all the faces outside that there was a lot of confusion.
To clear up the confusion the following day, a timely warning should have been sent out explaining the cause of the fire so that students were aware of what had happened. To prevent confusion in the future, students should be given a handbook with fire protocols for students to follow so that students can have a good, solid plan to follow during the event of a fire alarm, rather than being stuck in the motions of what they thought was best to do during a fire alarm.