In school, you probably had fire drills and maybe some severe weather drills. For me, that was tornado drills. In school, you are lead by a teacher and told what to do each step of the way. In a college classroom, that might still be true. But in a dorm, it’s all you.
If you’re lucky, your RA (resident assistant) will be knocking on doors to make sure everyone is out. If they have class, though, they may not be there to check on you. Here are my tips for getting out of your dorm in a pinch.
Find the nearest exit.
It’s kind of self explanatory, but you should know where to go should a fire actually happen. Even if it’s only a drill, you should still take it seriously. My school’s resident life staff isn’t even allowed to disclose a drill because of this. You want to get out of the building quickly. Find the procedure for exiting either on your college website or, if your dorm is like mine, on the back of the door to your room.
Make sure you know the closest exit ahead of time so that you are prepared. Half the battle of surviving a drill is preparedness.
Make it easy on yourself.
The easier you can find things (and get out), the quicker you can get to safety. Hang your keys and ID on a hook by your door. The. You can grab and go.
Have some slip on shoes out and ready. I prefer flip flops for warmer weather and my Bobs for the cold. Either way, you want something that you can slip on, socks or not.
Don’t spend time looking for something unnecessary, like those gold hoop earrings. Not that earrings aren’t important, but really. Your life is at stake.
Grab the important stuff.
Here are what I suggest you grab and have ready for a quick exit.
Keys and ID: like I said, hang them on a hook by the door.
Slip on shoes: so you don’t have to go barefoot.
A jacket: in case it gets cold.
Your phone: not because it is your most cherished possession but to keep yourself occupied until authorizes give an all clear and so you can let family know what happened and that you’re safe.
If you have a class within an hour, your backpack: odds are a fire drill won’t be reason enough to go to class unprepared. Make sure you have your backpack packed and ready to go.
Also, if you are hanging out in a friend’s room, even if it is just down the hall, keep your keys with you. If you have to get out of the building, you probably won’t have time to go get them.
Do what authorities tell you.
If an RA comes up to you and asks you to get further from the building, do it. You might be in the way of a fire hose or you could be blocking something.
If a resident coordinator or firefighter gives the all clear, then you can go back inside. Don’t attempt that before the fact.
It’s for your and everyone’s safety.
Remember: Your safety is more important than material goods.
This was a somewhat short post, but I think it is something not often talked about. I actually experienced two events of the fire alarm going off and later learned neither was a drill. After the first time, I figured out what works and what didn’t.
Have you been caught off guard by a fire alarm? What do you wish you knew? Tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!