Faculty, students, and staff evacuated buildings on Ocean campus with mixed reactions on Thursday, April 12 when emergency alarms blared at 10:11 a.m. for City College’s yearly state-mandated evacuation exercise.
“The drill took about 3 minutes total in terms of having the evacuation alarm turned off,” said André Barnes, chief of police for San Francisco Community College District.
“We were able to get everyone out of the buildings in about 2-3 minutes which is crucial in the event of an emergency,” he explained.
Although the evacuation was swift, Ocean campus evacuees failed to reach the proper safety zones during Thursday morning’s simulated emergency. Approximately 300 individuals who vacated Science Hall gathered on the steps outside the main entrance, when in fact the designated area of assembly, or “DAA”, was on the west-facing lawn between Science Circle and Phelan Avenue.
Faculty, students and staff appeared to be unaware of the locations of the 21 DAAs on Ocean campus, each of which serves to place evacuees in a safe zone away from buildings.
“If you just get out of a building, and are still close to it, and then the building explodes or collapses, you can still be in danger, so we want to work on that,” said Chief Barnes.
Radiology student Sandy Wu, 24, was in her physics lab class when the alarm abruptly sounded, allowing Wu and her classmates little time to gather their belongings. Outside of the Science Hall they waited for the alarm to end, still clutching onto the assignments they had been working on only three minutes prior.
Mario Gutierrez arrived to his intermediate HTML class early and had the opportunity to observe those evacuating Cloud Hall. “Some people never left the building”, he said, but adding that those who evacuated did so in an orderly fashion.
Biology Lab Manager Nicola Burrows said she was not satisfied with the organization of the evacuation.
“It didn’t go smoothly at all,” she said. “We had had to tell people to get out of the building.”
She added that she did not see any police officers in the area.
“We were pleased, but there is always an opportunity to do better,” said Chief Barnes. “All in all we want to make sure our campus is safe.”