A few weeks ago, the fire alarm went off at Countway due to water pump testing on the second floor. This was not a “drill,” and some people needed to evacuate. There was also some confusion as the alarm sounded only on the second floor and said, “emergency on floor 2.” This meant people on floor 2 and the floors above and below (floors 1 and 3), were theoretically the only people needing to leave the building. However, because the architectural structure of Countway is like a donut—with the center space of every floor being an open atrium—the alarm was heard on almost every floor, and everyone thought they had to evacuate. This was not the case in this instance due to the type of alarm that was sounded. We do have alarms that go off on every floor (for example fire drills), where everyone needs to leave. When in doubt, do not hesitate to leave regardless of type of alarm.
Scott Lawson, Longwood Safety Program Manager, spoke with Luciana after the incident to provide some helpful tactics in the event a similar situation arises in the future. Our main goal is to eliminate any confusion regarding safety procedures, especially in the event of an emergency. To summarize Luciana’s conversation with Scott, when in doubt, evacuate the building. Because it might be difficult to sometimes hear where exactly the alarm is going off in the building due to the atrium-like structure, finding the closest exit and leaving the building is always the best route to take. Please do not wait for someone to tell you to leave, and please do not go downstairs to ask Security what you should do. Even if the horn might only be ringing on a certain floor and your designated floor is not technically required to leave, please leave the building if that is what makes you feel most comfortable. Once you have left the building, please meet outside Gordon Hall on the quad side of the building, and check-in with someone from library administration who will be holding a sign. Below is an evacuation trifold pamphlet and a link to a website for additional fire and life safety tips. The trifold pamphlet will be printed and located on each floor of Countway.
The Evacuation Trifold can be found here.
Additional fire and life safety tips can be found here.
Billy DeSimone and Scott Lawson have graciously agreed to join us at our all-staff meeting on May 18th from 1-2pm in the garden, where they will reiterate these safety procedures as well as provide additional information and answer any other questions/concerns you might have. In addition, Countway is on the list for upcoming fire drills in the warmer months, so please stay tuned for that. If you have any questions or need further clarification on fire alarm procedures or any other emergency related topics, please reach out to Luciana. Your health and safety are top priorities at work, and we will continue to work closely and communicate with the proper personnel to ensure this. Just to reiterate, if you hear an alarm and are not sure what to do, leave the building.