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Campus News

Emergency response drill leaves students cold and confused

Gabriel Sistare, Editor in Chief (gsistare@wwc)

One student had to shave outside Wednesday morning. Others milled around campus as usual.

Although, at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8 the college announced that the Ballfields were on fire. The notice initiated the test of the college’s emergency response system.

Echo staff writers and photographers were throughout campus recording their observations of the emergency procedure and the event in general.

Some considered the drill to be lacking in awareness and immediacy and  If there was an actual fire it would be a lazy response.

Emergency vehicles arrived on the site and students left their dormitories and were required to wait outside while roll was taken.

The campus community was notified through e-mail and text alerts for which people must agree to sign up. According to some people, the blue emergency stands equipped with loudspeakers notified the campus of the danger and what to do.

Elsewhere on campus, in classrooms, student fire safety volunteers entered classrooms and recorded everyone’s name.

Clearly a drill, the procedure was slow and only entailed emergency vehicles coming onto campus and tabulation of names and locations on clipboards.

Some students in classrooms were confused about what to do after they were accounted for. To some, the response was not much of a lock down.

One Echo Staff Writer, Micah Wilkins, said that one person on her hall in Sunderland said that when the emergency was issued students just went out into the hall and talked. Another hall resident, Wilkins explained, went to his work crew because that is what he thought was appropriate procedure. However, no one was at his work crew when he arrived.

There was an apparent lack of personnel to take role, too. Wilkins reported that a student came to her door recorded students in Sunderland.

“He was doing roll call of the third floor as a favor for Katie, the Sunderland and Vining AC, because he had ‘nothing better to do’,” Wilkins said.

Formal roll call was not even standardized, at least within academic buildings.

Freshman Morgan Steele reported that while she was in Jensen during the time the drill was in process she did not observe anything. Steele described that a fire marshall went into her professor’s office and notified the professor that he could write-up all the teachers who had coffee pots that said “home use only” on the bottom.

According to Layout and Design Editor Elizabeth Bonham, who was studying in the library during the drill., she received no notice of the simulation. Bonham indicated that since she was not looking at her e-mail and does not receive text alerts, she was unaware of the event. However, once Bonham arrived at her Chemistry class, a student representative came in and asked her for her name.

Similar to Bonham’s experience, Staff Writer Christian Diaz was asleep in his room while the simulation was underway. He was only aware of it when he received an e-mail announcing its conclusion.

Had this been an actual event where there was a threat, human or environmental, to the campus community, it seems that few would be aware of it and most of the campus would be unaccounted for.

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