Should fire drills be regulated?

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Emily Sargent

Fire drills are an important part of school, especially for college students who live in a dorm. They help students prepare for a real fire or other emergency. However, fire drills at Radford are not completely regulated, as they can happen at any time of the day without warning. This can be very inconvenient for a number of students, especially if they occur late at night.

Junior Shaina Palmer believes fire drills should be more regulated because they would help students be better prepared for a real incident. “A couple of months ago, I was in the health sciences building and there was a fire drill,” Palmer said. “The teacher was like, ‘Oh it’s just an alarm or a test, wait a couple of seconds.’” Palmer also said that this was more of a learning experience than a bad experience.

Brittany More, a fifth year student, also believes fire drills should be regulated. “I’ve only ever had the fire drills happen living in the dorms. I’ve never had a fire drill while I was in class. That probably would be useful, I mean, considering how many buildings you’re in and out of and maybe you don’t know the closest exit,” she said. More also remembers being woken up by the fire alarms in the dorms a couple of times. Her only bad experience was, “…just waking up and grabbing my robe and sitting in the quad for 10 to 15 minutes.”

Julian Orlov, another junior, does not have much experience with fire drills, but still believes people should take them into consideration. “I’ve never lived on campus so I’ve never been through a fire drill. But obviously, they’re important and people need to participate in them,” he said.

I think fire drills should be more regulated because most of the time, students do not know when to expect them. Because of this, someone could be in the shower when the fire alarm goes off and have to get dressed and rush out of the building. Fire drills are also known to occur late at night when students are sleeping. This is usually because the residence halls have the highest occupancy at night.

If possible, the residence hall staff should also tell students when the fire drills are going to happen. This will make students more prepared to evacuate the building and will decrease the chance of having to evacuate at inconvenient times. Students can also plan their day around the fire drill and not be as panicked when the fire alarm goes off.

I do not think fire drills should happen at night because they disturb students’ sleep. If the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night, students might exit the building at a slower pace because they would have just woken up. Then after the fire drill, they may also have trouble going back to sleep.

I understand that no one can predict an emergency, but I believe regulated fire drills will better prepare students for them. They will give them more time to plan their exit routes and they will be less likely to feel interrupted or disturbed by them.