Library fire drill reveals safety hazards of study rooms

Emanuela Gallo, Editor-in-Chief

Baruch College students evacuated the William and Anita Newman Library on Oct. 21 due to a fire drill, though students in study rooms did not hear the alarm.

During club hours, an alarm suddenly began to go off. The noise repeated several times before an announcement to evacuate the building was made.

Students then began to exit the library, forming crowds at the entrance of the building.

Jason Galak, a junior human resource management major and Undergraduate Student Government chair of philanthropy, was in a corner study room with another student when the alarm went off. He was attending a Zoom event hosted by the Baruch Pre-Law Society.

“When the alarm went off, I didn’t even hear or see it,” he said in a Google survey created by The Ticker. “I had my AirPods in and we couldn’t see the flashing through the door. The alarm didn’t sound in the room, so I didn’t hear it either.”

Galak said that he didn’t think anything of it until a security guard checking the rooms found him and the other student. The guard informed them that they were the last people in the building.

He told the guard that he hadn’t heard the alarm due to his headphones. Even when he removed them, he said that he didn’t hear the noise because it was faint.

He also said that he was unable to see through the study room door. No flashing occurred in the study room.

“How were we supposed to know?” he said. “We should definitely do something about this.”

Galak said that the ringing and flashing lights should occur in the study rooms. He also expressed concern for students in study rooms should a future emergency occur.

“What if it wasn’t a drill?” he said. “We would’ve potentially have gotten injured because there was no way of seeing or hearing the alarm.”

Cirill Florenz Dalangin, a junior majoring in computer and information systems, was also in a study room at the time, attending a virtual club event. She said that she could not hear the alarms.

“I saw the blinking alarms and thought it was just a false alarm,” she said. “I was planning not to leave until a friend said that everyone was already outside.”

Florenz Dalangin recalled feeling surprised and confused by the situation. “I wasn’t sure what to do,” she said.

The Ticker reached out to Chief of Public Safety Robert Curry and Fire Safety Director Specialist Ovid Forde but both ignored requests for comment.

Editor’s Note: Emanuela Gallo, who wrote this article, and Jason Galak, quoted above, are both executive board members of the Baruch Pre-Law Society.