|by Howard W. Hewitt • October 23, 2007|
The Wabash College Safety Committee and Crawfordsville Fire Department conducted a fire drill Tuesday morning at Baxter Hall.
The alarm was sounded about 10:45 to test response in getting students, faculty and staff out of the building in case of a real emergency.
"We take this responsibility very, very seriously," Crawfordsville Fire Chief Todd Barton said. "And we take the responsibility of protecting the living units very, very seriously."
The Chief noted the high concentration of buildings and people in a small area is a challenge to firefighters in case of an emergency.
Barton was happy with the response but noted it can always be better. He would like to see students moved farther away from the building. The chief noted the main challenge is incident management – knowing who is in charge and making sure everyone has been evacuated.
Barton is in a unique position as an adult graduate of Wabash College, Class of 2000. "It’s really neat and I take a lot of pride in now protecting Wabash."
The Committee had previously announced the fire drill would take place.
"The drill went well," said Julie Olsen, the committee's co-chair with Professor Martin Madsen. "We are really pleased at the cooperation from the faculty, staff and students. It appeared that people evacuated the building smoothly and quickly.
"Judy Oswalt, serving as attendance monitor, and Campus Services as radio contact did a great job of accounting for people who were in Baxter at the time of the drill. Once we have the official report from the Fire Department, the Safety Committee will debrief. Based on what we have learned from the drill, we will begin to discuss fire safety plans for the other campus buildings."