Stop, drop and leave

Despite it being taught to us since elementary school, it looks like some people still need a refresher on fire safety.

For instance, if there is a fire alarm going off, leave the building that is allegedly on fire.

This may seem obvious or like common sense to some.

However, after Wednesday’s fire in Douglas Hall, it came to our attention that some students did not evacuate properly.

In an article in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News, Charleston police sergeant Ryan Risinger said some students did not follow evacuation procedures.

“There are some students who did not respond to the fire alarm,” he said in the article.

Mark Hudson, director of university housing and dining services, said some people might be reluctant to go outside, especially in cold weather and when it is not of their own accord.

We realize it might be getting colder outside, but being chilly for a period of time is probably preferable to being burned or inhaling large amounts of smoke.

Is a fire alarm inconvenient? Yes. Going outside and evacuating the building takes time that could be used for studying for finals or other projects. We all know that time is a precious commodity, especially now as the semester winds down to a close. And of course, we have no idea if the fire alarm going off is blaring because someone made a cooking error or if there’s an actual fire.  However, getting a few minutes of studying in is not worth putting one in danger.

Hudson was right when he stressed the importance of preventing injury over ignoring the inconvenience posed by leaving the building for a short while.

Firefighters know what they are talking about. It is their job to know what to do in a fire. If they say to evacuate, it is usually safe to assume that one should evacuate.

Apparently, students who did not evacuate will have “a talk” with the Office of Student Standards.

This is ridiculous. It should not take a conversation with Student Standards for students to know to evacuate a building when there is a fire. The penalty of being in a burning building is what should “scare” people into leaving a place that might be on fire, not the penalties posed by Student Standards.

In short, go outside and evacuate the building like you are supposed to in case an emergency starts. It could be a false alarm or burnt popcorn, or it could be something dangerous. You have no way of knowing.