Emergency Response: What to do in the event of a fire

One of the fire alarms in Lakeside Commons. This model, like the ones all around the campus, includes a strobe light and audio cues in the event of a fire. (Photo by Chris Taydus)

By Amanda Hidalgo
Assistant Manager, Riderwood Security

It’s a nice, quiet evening. You’re enjoying a restful moment in your apartment when suddenly the fire alarm sounds. Or perhaps you are walking through the hallways on your way back from class, or on your way to dinner, and the fire alarm goes off. It can be difficult at that moment to remember what to do. Riderwood would like to remind all of our residents of the appropriate response to a fire alarm:

• If you are in your apartment when the fire alarm goes off, and the emergency is not in your home, we recommend that you remain in your apartment. Your apartment is compartmentalized from the surrounding units, so even if the problem is next door, immediate evacuation should not be necessary. If evacuation becomes necessary, either the fire department or Riderwood staff will come to your apartment and escort you to safety.

• If you are in a common area, like a hallway or a stairwell, and the fire alarm goes off, you will have to make a decision. If you are near your apartment, it may be safer to return rather than attempt to retrace your steps. If you are closer to an exit, or an adjoining building, it may be safest to leave the building where the alarm is sounding. If you cannot leave the building but cannot return to your apartment, you can take shelter in a stairwell or a neighbor’s apartment.

• If you are in the elevator, the elevator should go to the ground floor, and the doors will open. At that time, you should attempt to exit the building. If the elevator is stuck, residents should use the call box inside the elevator to contact Security.

• If you are outside of the building and you see the strobes and hear the fire alarms going off, please do not enter the building but remain outside or in an adjoining building until the fire alarm is silenced.

Once the fire alarm has been silenced, this indicates the situation has been resolved and that residents may resume regular activity. As always, if you have any questions about the correct course of action when the fire alarm goes off, follow the direction of Riderwood staff or contact Riderwood Security at (301) 572-8391.

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