Informed ‘emergency’: A mock evacuation drill at IISER, Pune

“Siren Beater, Everybody Out! Evacuation drills should not be taken lightly. It is not an obligation but a necessity and compulsory as per the law,” said a third year student at IISER.

This is the first time that Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has organised a mock emergency evacuation drill for student hostels. The drill will take place on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. Generally, such drills take place uniformed, but at IISER, everybody has been informed about it.

Though IISER organises a fire safety drill every year for fresher students, this will be the first time that a mock emergency drill is being organised for the student hostels only. The institute has organised this drill  with EMSAFE Fire Safety Solutions, Pune, for the three hostels, which has a total strength of about 1200 students.

IISER called this mock drill as the Life Saving Drill with a motive to train students on how to respond in case of an emergency. Mangesh Sonawane, a second year student at IISER, said, “There will be a briefing session for student volunteers tomorrow morning. After we reach the respective safe assembly points, EMSAFE will demonstrate on how to use stretcher, fire hydrants and extinguisher, and some rescue techniques.”

The idea of informing students about a so called ’emergency drill’ has received mixed reactions from students. A student of IISER, said, “How is it an emergency evacuation drill when we all are already expecting a hooter to go off at 9:30 a.m? Management shouldn’t have informed the students about it.” Whereas Snehal Kadam, another third year student is of the opinion that, since this their first mock drill, keeping the students in the loop will help run the schedule smoothly. 

Prof RG Bhat, organiser for the Life Saving Drill at IISER also agreed that if students are uninformed they might panic and run helter-skelter. Bhat further added, “Henceforth we will not inform the students about the drill. We will conduct it in every six months and students will have to respond as trained. Even if they are in the toilet or asleep.”