Daily Titan | Fire drills spark safety concerns on CSUF campus

Author: Zack Johnston

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Buildings in Cal State Fullerton have been undergoing routine fire drills, as well as few false alarms in recent weeks, begging the question: are students prepared in the event of a real fire?

In a drill during the first week of the semester, some students in the Humanities and Social Sciences building found their evacuation to be less than impelling.

It took 22-year-old psychology major Tony Hrebien roughly 10 minutes to evacuate the building from the fifth floor due to congestion in the stairway, Hrebien said.

The Humanities building’s evacuation area is the parking lot behind the building, and it is advised to stay at least 50 feet away from the building.

Hrebien and many other students evacuated into the quad and were standing only about 20 feet away.

Since it was a routine drill and there was no actual danger, many students chose not to take it seriously, said 20-year-old English major Carla Huezo, who also evacuated into the quad.

Cesar Ledesma, 20-year-old psychology major, said he was led to the correct evacuation area but still found that students were not taking the drill seriously.

Campus Emergency Preparedness offers a map of campus buildings and their corresponding evacuation areas. Many of those evacuation areas are some of the campus’ more open spaces.

It is highly advised that students do not evacuate into the quad. It may seem like the ideal spot, but if all buildings surrounding the quad evacuated into that space it would fill up rather quickly.

University Police’s 2015 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report outlines some of the protocol for reporting a fire and staying safe.

Students, faculty and staff can report a fire by simply calling 911 and speaking with a University Police dispatcher. They can also activate the nearest fire alarm or use emergency blue-light phones.

“When you call 911, the dispatch office will simultaneously notify the fire department and the police department,” according to the report.

Knowing what kind of fire is burning and how to extinguish it can make a very big difference. Never use water to put out a burning liquid fire, grease fire or electrical fire.

With a small, contained fire, use a fire extinguisher if you are familiar with its use and watch for smoldering or flare up.

In a small fire that is in danger of spreading, use a fire extinguisher only if it doesn’t risk your or others’ safety. When evacuating the building, do so quickly while knocking on doors to alert others of the possible danger.

If you see or smell smoke in a hall or stairway, choose a different exit.

In a large fire, exit the building immediately, also knocking on doors. To avoid smoke inhalation, it may be best to crawl close to the ground while exiting. If there is a towel or blanket at hand, it can be used to protect from flames or smoke. Close doors behind you to contain the flames but do not lock them.

Do not attempt to save any possessions and follow all instructions from emergency response personnel.

In all cases of a fire, call 911, use the back of your hand to check the temperature of a door before deciding to open it and never allow a fire to get in the way of an exit.

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