Sunday marked the start of Fire Prevention Week bringing awareness to making an escape plan in case of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association encourages people living in houses to practice their escape plan, but the message should reach larger than just homes.
On college campuses there are hundreds of building and thousands of people on campus at any point throughout the day that need to know how to evacuate if there is an emergency.
Many LSU students and faculty are unaware of fire escape plans for their specific classrooms raising the question of: if there was a fire would it run smoothly or be utter chaos?
Manship School of Mass Communication professor, Roxanne Dill says, “I do not know the specific drill for any of my classrooms actually. You know sadly I will confess it’s something I never thought about.”
Dill says she did not think about what to do in a fire emergency until this past week when she realized one of the two exits in her 70-person classroom did not have a door knob and would not be accessible in an emergency.
LSU’s website lists the procedures in case of a fire stating “begin evacuation of the building in accordance with the fire plan” but students admit that they only know the basics of fire safety.
LSU fourth-year student, Delanie McDonald says, “I think the last time I had any education on fire safety was maybe in elementary school, and I think the basis of that was stop, drop and roll, and get out alive. So, I can’t imagine that any college student would know much more about fire safety or how to act in a proper manner if there was a fire.”
Getting students out safely from any classroom is difficult if they do not know the exit plan, but there is an even greater risk in large auditoriums like the Bo Campbell Auditorium on LSU’s campus which seats over 1,000 people.
McDonald says, “In these big auditoriums I think it is most important because those are the ones where they would have trouble maybe with all of the students getting out in a proper time.”
She said if there was a fire in Bo Campbell and she did not know the fire escape plan she would scared since there would so many people try to get out of a few doors as quickly as possible.
Dill says that professors need to educate themselves on a common evacuation plan, so there is no chaos when dozens of full classrooms are trying to get out at once.
Dill says, “I think it would be good to just bring awareness to hey there’s a plan for your room, and so you need to know what it is and at least bring it up once in class.”
Dill also says she is going over the fire evacuation plan with her students in the next few days, so her classes know how to get out of a building safely.
In the meantime, if students or professors are concerned with how they get out of a building in case of a fire they can follow the instructions on LSU’s website, and find emergency plan maps posted around buildings.
Fire Prevention Week lasts through Saturday, Oct. 12.