Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 4:53 pm

Alarm sends Niagara College students for the exits

Students, faculty and employees stand out in the cold while Welland Fire Marshalls assess the reason for the fire alarm. PHOTO BY LIANE ABBEYBy LIANE ABBEY
Staff Writer
Panic! Crowds of people gathered outside of Niagara College this morning when all persons were ushered out of the doors into the cold, crisp December air.
This morning at about 10 a.m. students, faculty and employees, filed out of Niagara College’s Welland campus after doors immediately shut simultaneously with the unmistakable loud beeping associated with fire evacuation.
Students were left out in the cold for about 30 minutes until they started to re-enter the facilities without the permission of the fire chief. For a second time, by security, students were asked to leave the building and to stand away from the doors for about another 10 minutes until they were granted re-entry to attend scheduled classes.
Gloria Gautier, of Niagara College’s security services, says that the alarm was an “accident.”
“Movers hit the fire panel on the second floor.”
When asked about the fire evacuation timing standard, Gautier says that usually it’s about six, seven or eight minutes but “there’s no set time.”
There is, however, a standard for students with disabilities.
“If a student is in a wheelchair, or hurt, they wait at [signaged] refuges [on each floor] and the fire marshal will take them down.”
Nikki Culanoj, 19, of Pre-Media Studies, says that the “accident” shouldn’t have happened.
“It was cold, and a waste of time. I could have been studying or finishing the test I was in the middle of.”
Jessica Esteva,19, of Pre-Health Sciences, says she was in the Rankin Technology Building when she found out about the evacuation.
“There was no alarm, [in the tech building.] We just felt vibrations. We only knew what was happening because our teacher got a phone call.”
Esteva says all students should be informed in these situations. “There should have been an announcement.”
Graham Shanks, Head of Facility Management Services, confirmed Gautier’s statement.
“A pull station was inadvertently damaged by some movers.”
Classes resumed at around 11 a.m.


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