This Tuesday began rather unpleasantly for many campus residents, as they woke to an unusual sound. Most thought that they were hearing distant car alarms, while others didn’t hear the sound at all until the blaring noise hit their own room, and firm staff members came pounding on doors.
On drill day, the alarm sounds, followed by an officer who performs a sweep of every residence room, closet and even the mechanical rooms. The fire drills are an annual test that the University emergency response unit coordinates to create safety awareness. The drills are required in every building; at each fire exit there is a safety officer, building manager or maintenance worker to assist and ensure total evacuation.
“Though they are required in order to make sure that the system works, the fire drills are annual,” said maintenance employee Peter Mills-Price. “So relax, kick your feet up and concentrate on your studies.”
This comes as welcome news to the shaken freshmen who, pajama-clad and shivering, stumbled haphazardly into the Edward Lee Gorsuch commons on Tuesday in search of the staff-promised “free hot chocolate if you get out fast!”
“I was in the shower when it started going off!” said North Hall resident Cameron Belk-Ferrel. “I just had no time.”
Though necessary, the timing of the drills is continually questioned by students.
“I think that it could be done better,” said Resident Advisor Hannah Coe. “Since it is only a drill, I don’t think it would be a problem to inform people of the exact time that it is going to take place. People need their keys and shoes.”