How do I Stay Safe During a Fire-drill in My Dorm?

Anonymous asks, quote:

Hi! I will be starting to attend college soon and my room is on the fifth floor. I’m not concerned for everyday stuff because there are elevators, but I am concerned about fire𔂼drills. My chronic pain makes walking exhausting on bad pain days, and my pain often convinces my brain to have a fear of falling down while going down stairs. This forces me to go slowly and use the railing and hold a hand out for balance. How do I get out of the building quickly during a fire drill without freaking out? My chronic pain is undiagnosed so I cannot get accommodations.

end quote.

Talk to the person in charge of your dorm (in the US these are usually called an RA and are students who are in charge of the dorm they stay in) and the university itself. Odds are they have a plan for fire drills and what to do if someone cannot safely navigate the stairs. 

If the people in charge don’ have a fire safety plan in place, you should:

  1. Call your local fire department (the one that would typically be dispatched in the event of a real fire) and let them know who you are and where you are staying in the building.
  2. Ask them what you should do in the event of a real emergency.
  3. Odds are, they will say something like¬†alert the RA / someone who is in charge and have them notify the fire department of your existence up on their arrival. Then, go wait in the area the fire department told you to wait in (odds are it’s right next to the elevator).

    The fire department will then send someone to come and retrieve you.

    If everything goes to shit during a real emergency and no one will help you, simply call 911 via your cell phone and explain to them your situation. Give them your name, the name and location of the building you are in, and where in the building you are located (eg., next to the North elevator).

    If the school tries to give you shit or pretend they don’t have a plan, I would raise hell. People sprain their ankles all the time and can’t use the stairs. There’s no way they don’t have a fire safety plan and to claim otherwise is a violation of a whole host of laws.