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Baruch should be having regular fire drills

Defense Visual Information Distribution | PICRYL

Baruch College has not been compliant with New York State law requiring colleges and universities to have regular fire drills, and they should be conducting them to ensure a safer campus environment.

The last known fire drill at Baruch was on Oct. 21, 2021, in the William and Anita Library building. NYS Education Law 807 requires college and university buildings that are greater than six stories in height to have at least four fire drills per year.

On March 4, a fire alarm went off in the Lawrence and Eris Field Building at Baruch, resulting in confusion among students and staff who were unsure of the protocol for the alarm. Some professors attempted to evacuate their classrooms, but it only resulted in the hallways being overcrowded with confused students who didn’t know where to go.

Some students who weren’t in class reported ignoring the sound as it went on for several minutes. In the following days, Baruch’s administration also never communicated the source of the alarm.

The ensuing disorder from last week’s fire alarm is evidence that Baruch should not only be having regular fire drills but also be more transparent about potential life-threatening situations on campus.

Some students don’t recall Baruch having a fire drill during their time as a student.

“From what I remember, the Baruch College Newman Vertical campus and the Lexington campus never had a fire drill, but the annex building with the honors lounge had a departmental fire drill,” Thomas Lee, a junior at Baruch majoring in actuarial science, said. Lee said this drill happened in spring 2023.

They also expressed their concern at the college’s lack of fire safety protocols in over two years.

“I think it should be a staple that we reimplement fire drills,” Lee continued. “If there is any issue or emergency, we don’t want something to malfunction.”

Regular fire drills promote safety in the event of an emergency in buildings with many occupants, and the lack of regular drills is dangerous because it promotes complacency. Baruch students and faculty should not become accustomed to ignoring the sound of a fire alarm because they have not practiced protocol. Students and faculty need to know what to do in the event of an emergency.

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