Faulty fire form fosters feelings of fear

Matthew Gerding, IV Leader Editor

On Aug. 22, there was a fire alarm in B building. As the newspaper office is located in B building (B-317, stop in any time!), I of course, evacuated with everyone else.
Not knowing what was going on, only that there was a fire, I followed the crowd hoping the person in the lead knew where he was going.
As I walked I started hearing the talk that accompanies any large group of people. There was the normal, “What’s going on?” and “Is it a drill?” questions but there was also a lot of “Where do we go?” and “What do we do?” questions as well, and not just from students.
One of the things I noticed was that the instructors and people in charge seemed unsure of the exact procedures and didn’t know where to go. Students were looking around quizzically and just following the leader.
Another glaring absence was safety services. The whole time this was happening I didn’t notice one security officer. Where were they? I assume one or two were dealing with the actual cause of the alarm, but how about the rest.
You linger a little too long in the turn around by the front door or park in the wrong spot and they are there like Batman emerging from the shadows. During a fire, however, not one seemed to be around.
Another thing I noticed was the students themselves.
They were not taking this alarm seriously. I noticed students hanging around by the door waiting for their friends, and blocking the door in the process. The students made sure to pack their book bags before heading out and just had a general lack of appreciation for the possible danger.
Eventually the all clear was sounded and, obviously since I am writing this, the fire wasn’t lethal.
The whole thing made me think that maybe the procedures need to gone over again and more training needs to be had.
I myself searched the college Web site and found some information on what to do in case of emergencies, like fires and other crisis situations. You can look for it too by going to the college’s home page and searching for the emergency response plan.
I also discovered that emergency information is posted in each classroom — however, no one seems to really have time to read any of it.
Hopefully, a more dangerous fire won’t ever happen, but if it does, I hope that it is handled a little better than last time.