Let’s be honest here; college is a bit lax. Even when you’re living in the dorm and the fire alarm goes off, the first thing through your mind is, “Why the F*CK are they running fire drills at 3:00 in the morning?No wayI’m getting out of bed!” And I have to admit, I’m exactly the same way. Especially in February, when there just happens to be the perfect combination of snow and sleet falling from the sky. Even if my roommates bed is the one on fire, chances are I’d just pull my covers over my head, try to block it out and go back to sleep.
But the truth is, those drills really are necessary. How many times have you heard of the student that didn’t leave because they didn’t think it was the real deal? Or the one that couldn’t find their way out because they were in the laundry room (or some other random place) and they panicked when the alarms went off. You probably haven’t heard a lot of cases like these (both because they’re pretty rare, but also because universities tend to keep occasions like this as quiet as possible), but the fact is they do happen. So if the day ever comes where you’re in an evacuation (for whatever reason), there are a few things you can do ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared.
1.) Know where to go! Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s not! I can’t even begin to think of the number of buildings I’ve been in and all I want to do is find my way off the friggin’ floor and it seems completely impossible! Many university buildings can quickly become a maze if you aren’t familiar with them, so make sure you have a clear cut way to an exit, no matter where you are. Just consciously remembering the way you came in or even taking a quick second to look at an evacuation floor plan (there should be one on every floor) could really come in handy should something go wrong and you need to get the hell out of there.
2.) Know what you need to take and keep it in one place. For the most part, if you hear an alarm the general rule is “leave everything” and get the hell out. But if you already have everything you know you’d need to take (birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card, etc) and have it in one place (like a safe), then you can just grab it and go.
Keep in mind though, no point in going back for anything. If you’re on the 3rd floor and your room is the floor above you, let it go. No point in putting yourself in harms way for a piece of paper.
3.) Know who to call. Of course the first priority is going to be 9-1-1, but there may be other contacts that you need to call, such as poison control, your parents or even a roommates parents. Chances are, if there really is something going on at school that requires an actual evacuation, your parents are going to hear about and are going to be worried sick. Call them before it gets to that point, let them know everyone is okay, and go on with your life.
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