Students, faculty and staff fled quickly from the McKinney Humanities Building Friday after a fire alarm sounded through the corridors, offices and classrooms.
Although the people who were inside the building were able to evacuate in about twelve minutes, questions have been raised concerning the emergency evacuation procedure of the MH.
Roxanne Acosta, a student inside the building at the time of the fire drill said, “No one knew what to do.” Acosta said that she was “stuck upstairs” and “couldn’t really move for a long time.”
When asked about how the emergency procedures of the MH could be improved in the future, Acosta replied, “A plan could help. More exits too.” Acosta also suggested that more fire drills would improve the speed of evacuation.
After rushing from his class at 9:33 a.m. on Friday, Luis Robles noted, “Students coming from other buildings couldn’t really see the lights or hear the sirens.”
Robles was referring to the alert system inside of the MH Building. Robles, along with many other students, was standing in the tunnel that connects the University Center to the MH Building. During the fire alarm, UTSA staff was present to help direct students out of the building.
As evacuees waited to return to their classes and offices in the MH, students from the UC were walking right into the MH, even though a mass was huddled in the tunnel, away from the building. The sirens and lights were flashing. More astounding, was the fact that there were quite a number of students who remained inside of the MH during the drill.
Dr. Christine Caver described the hallways on the fourth floor of the building as a “maze.” Undoubtedly, evacuating such a confusing floor probably took extra time as well.
The fire alarm on Friday not only showed that there is a need for improvement in the emergency evacuation procedure of the MH, but it also highlighted two other downfalls of the university; primarily the lack of effectiveness of fire alarm devices, and secondly, the lack of student concern during a time of emergency.