Print Edition: March 13, 2013
Despite much confusion from some of the students, a fire drill on the Abbotsford campus last week went completely according to plan.
“It was what we expected it to be,” says Brian Leonard, UFV’s director of security & emergency planning. According to Leonard, the students followed directions as they were supposed to, keeping with the floor wardens and following the procedures in an efficient manner. From what he can tell, it is because students have been continuously doing these types of fire drills all throughout their grade school lives.
“Students have come from K-12, so the expectation is that they’re going to do what they have always done,” Leonard says.
There is definitely some truth to this. From the age of five and up students have learned how to react in a crisis, be it earthquake or fire. By now, responding to a fire alarm is second nature.
Nevertheless, UFV is still taking measures to improve its fire safety.
“We’re always looking at how we can make the program better,” Leonard says.
One of these measures is changing the role of fire wardens to floor wardens. This small difference will reorganize the position to help not only in fire evacuation instances, but also for all emergency situations. These floor wardens will help to direct students where they should exit, what area to congregate in, and when it is safe to proceed back into the building.
Ultimately, though, it’s up to the students to evacuate safely and efficiently.
“When you hear the bell, proceed to the exit calmly; grab your personal belongings, because you don’t know if you’ll be coming back into the building or not, even if it is a drill,” Leonard advises.
Once outside of the building, there will be designated evacuation areas for each section of the building. The floor wardens will also be there to help evacuees find where their section of the building should gather, a good distance away from the school. Leonard also urges that students “don’t leave until the drill is over,” for obvious safety reasons.
This evacuation style should be completely familiar; it’s exactly the same as those students experienced in middle and high school.
“Nothing changes,” Leonard says, “A fire drill’s a fire drill.”
UFV typically has at least one fire drill per year for each building on campus.
“We stagger them,” Leonard notes, in order to minimize disruption to classes and avoid confusion for students.
So if next time you find yourself in the midst of a fire drill, just remember that the bottom line is to follow directions, stay calm and stay with your group – just like we learned in grade school.