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A fire drill is when the fire alarms in the building are intentionally set off and everyone has to evacuate or pay some kind of penalty.

Fire drills are usually preplanned and involve no actual fire. They have two main goals in life:

  1. To give practice in the proper methods of evacuation in case of an emergency. Usually this means 'go out the way you normally would'.
  2. To desensitize people so they don't go insane when the building eventually does catch fire. This kind of instilled apathy can be counterproductive, though, if it causes people to ignore the alarms.

The main problem with a fire drill is that, unless you've either been warned beforehand, or you see gouts of smoke and flame billowing out of doorways and stuff, there's going to be a bit of doubt whether there's an actual fire or not. General procedures during a fire drill:

  • Move quickly and orderly to the nearest exit. Don't panic, and do try to avoid people who are panicking (unless you're a trained professional who can handle it.)
  • Avoid elevators. Use your imagination and think of several reasons why you wouldn't want to be caught in one in a fire.
  • Before you open any doors, check to make sure they're not hot. This may indicate a fire is behind the door, in which case you might look for another route.
  • Do not blindly jump lemming-style out of any high windows. Fires are not safe but neither is that.
  • Make sure you've done your research. Your building will likely have good specifics on what to do in case of an emergency that will no doubt be more comprehensive and personalized than this lousy node.

--noded after a fire alarm in the dorm shortly after midnight...

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