Students living on campus have all experienced the dreaded fire alarm in the middle of the night. Instead of exiting their buildings, some people have started waiting out fire alarms in their rooms. Experts want everyone to know that this is not the right thing to do — always evacuate.
Associate Director of Carolina Housing Rick Bradley said that most fire alarms are activated because of students cooking, and even though the housing department does not check any rooms, any person in the building must evacuate immediately.
“We don’t check any rooms. The fire department determines whether they need to or not, so typically the fire department would respond to where the alarm is sounding and then whether they check additional spaces in the building or not is their protocol,” Bradley said.
UNC Fire Safety and Emergency Response Manager David Guynn said that resident advisors and community directors are not firefighters, but they play a role outside the building in terms of ensuring safety and assisting in crowd control.
“Once those folks get outside, really the biggest thing is making sure that residents are safe, they stay away from the building. And then try, if there is an actual fire incident, try and get accountability of students on the floors and make sure that everybody is safe and then communicate with the fire department if they’re unsure about whether people are still in the building,” Guynn said.
In the future, Guynn wants his department to continue educating people on fire safety, and make sure students know what to do during a fire and how to prevent one. He said that if there is a fire, evacuate, and worry about safety, not possessions.
“Possessions can be replaced, buildings can be replaced, but lives cannot,” Guynn said.
But some students think differently.
Sophomore Carmichael Residence Hall resident Arisa Kida thinks that fire alarms should be tested at more reasonable times in better weather conditions and that people should evacuate faster.
“I remember that one, it was like 8 in the morning, and we had to get out, and it was raining,” Kida said.
Another sophomore Carmichael resident Emmanuel Lee said that he complies with monthly fire alarm tests, but feels as though there were more fire alarms than usual in the first two or three months of last semester. He added that if he is busy during the sounding of an alarm, he would rather finish what he is doing than evacuate quickly.
“Depending on what’s happening – if I’m getting ready for class then I’ll just go ahead and get ready."
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