A university campus burning down may just seem like a hypothetical concept. However, it is not uncommon for fires to spread across campuses. Fires at university can definitely be terrifying, not only would your education be disrupted but your life would too! However, don’t worry! Universities have a set protocol to deal with fires. This all brings about the question of what exactly will happen if a university burns down.
There is no exact answer for this question as it will depend on several factors, including the cause of the fire and the degree of damage to the university. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates that on average, there are over 1,500 fires each year in schools as well as other educational institutions. Visit this ABI report to find out more. The damage caused by a university fire could be as minimal as a piece of furniture set on fire or could potentially lead to a high number of casualties. What happens as a result of the fire depends on how quickly a university can recover.
The burning down of a university isn’t something you hear about often so now that you have a surface level answer, I recommend you read on to find out more about the issues that can arise when it happens.
What are fire safety procedures at university?
Throughout primary school and secondary school, you will most likely have had many fire safety training sessions. It is generally recommended to carry out refresher training sessions once a year so both staff and students are familiar with the safety arrangements.
There are much more complex procedures needed at universities due to there being thousands of students present at the university itself and campus accommodation.
There are three things that you should do if you spot a fire. These are shouting out, getting out of the premises and staying out until the area becomes safe.
A large number of university fires are cooking related and happen in accommodations. However, students should not attempt to use a fire extinguisher without training.
If the fire spreads beyond the point where it started, it is advised that you raise the alarm verbally and break the glass on the fire alarm call point, so everyone can evacuate.
Each campus or department at a university will have a designated evacuation procedure. Once you have safely evacuated the premises, you should contact the emergency security staff.
To manage all the people at the university, buildings may be divided into sections and the security staff will clear each of these sections before they leave, so the building is successfully cleared and people have reached the fire assembly point.
Following the right procedures in the event of a fire is very important. To check out the University of Greenwich’s policies as an example, click here.
What happens to a student if their university campus burns down?
After people have evacuated the campus, there are many factors that will be affected.
The immediate effect will be that students may not be able to stay in their accommodation. In this case, the university may arrange temporary accommodation in other campuses or students will have to find their own.
If you want to discover how to apply for university accommodation, check out this article from Think Student.
For example, when reviewing fire safety at the University of Lincoln, one of the university flats were deemed unsafe and several students needed to be relocated. This BBC article talks more about this here.
The main factor affected by a fire will be a student’s education. If lecture halls or department buildings have been badly affected by the fire, online lectures will need to commence. This will particularly affect students taking lab-based or workshop-based courses.
If the fire begins in accommodation halls, students may lose course resources such as books or laptops, further worsening their revision.
A fire may also have an effect on former and current students. Students who are in the final year of their degree may lose academic records and have end-of-degree exams delayed. This could impact the year they graduate and any jobs they have been offered.
What is “pass by catastrophe”?
Even if you haven’t heard of the phrase “pass by catastrophe”, you have most likely heard of the actual concept.
“Pass by catastrophe” is a popular urban legend that proposes the idea that if a catastrophe occurs all students automatically are given a pass grade. This stems from the idea that a catastrophe would prevent students from being assessed fairly and thus should all be given a pass.
Most students claim that if someone dies during an exam, the rest of the students will pass. In the case of a university burning, it is claimed that all students graduate with a bachelor’s degree immediately.
Whilst the legend is pleasing, unfortunately it is not true. The only way to earn a degree is by passing the classes and examinations as lessons will continue.