Thank you, everyone, for a smooth fire drill yesterday evening. About 150 people evacuated in under 6 minutes (all but two of those in under 5 minutes), which is a good time and certainly means we don't have to run another drill this term. Everyone's alarm and all the fire exits worked normally.
There were just two areas where we could do better:
1. Use alternative stairs & exits
Please remember to use the staircases at either end of your corridor as well as the main staircase in the middle. In middle-of-the-night evacuations, when everyone is sleepy in their pyjamas, the middle staircase can get congested and have people backed up like a snake all the way up to the second floor. That won't happen if you use the alternative exits.
For example, if you live in rooms x01 - x06 or x42 - x48 (or thereabouts - it's slightly different between floors), use the north staircase all the way down to the basement, then use the fire exit out to below street level and up the steps to the street.
Or if you live in rooms x23 - x35, use the south staircase and exit at street level through the side door.
2. Cross the road for the assembly point
The evacuation assembly point is on the pavement outside Passfield Hall, which means crossing that small road to get off the block that Connaught is on. This is based on advice from the police and fire brigade about the risk of flying glass from broken windows, and explosion risk. We have had at least 5 bomb threats that I can remember in the last 16 years. There were never any bombs, thankfully, but we have to make our evacuation plan suitable to keep you all safe from explosions as well as fire and smoke. So do remember to cross the road and stand outside Passfield Hall.
There will be another drill in the spring / early summer, in order for us to meet the requirement that we have two per year. But as you've seen, we warn you in advance if there is going to be a drill; so if you hear the fire alarm again, you know for sure that it's not a drill (except if it rings for less than 10 seconds at 1pm on a Wednesday, when we test the system).
Thank you again for helping us with yesterday's drill.