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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 21, No. 8. 2nd July, 1958

Fire !

Fire !

The Editor.

Dear Sir,—I noticed at the beginning of the year that emergency exit notices were put up all over Vic. But despite this the Biology Block remains a potential death trap. Why is it that the exit from the Biology Block has been nailed up all the year? I am fully aware that this exit cannot be used normally because of wind danger, but is that any reason why it should be nailed and boarded up so that it cannot be used in an emergency?

What would happen if an earthquake rendered the bridge from the Biology Block to the old Chemistry Block unusuable? What if the Chemistry Block caught fire? How then could the Biology Block be speedily evacuated? There is one small rear exit with absolutely no signs to betray its presence and of whose existence many students are unaware. There are absolutely no notices to inform one that a fire escape even exists, much less as to how to get on to it.

Also, why is the door on the Western side of the ground floor or the old Chemistry Block not marked as an emergency exit??

Are the faults going to be remedied, or do I rest quite satisfied that in an emergency to evacuate, say, 323, I have to
(1)descend three flights of stairs, asuming that they are still in existence;
(2)then pass a door which could lead to freedom if I knew that it were there;
(3)pass another door that leads to freedom but is nailed up;
(4)cross a bridge which is quite likely to be badly damaged or made unusable in the case of an earthquake;
(5)enter into another building which could very easily be on fire;
(6)descend another flight of narrow stairs (crowded enough between lectures let alone in an emergency) which are quite likely to be damaged or on fire;
(7)eventually, if I am lucky enough to be alive, to emerge outside into comparative safety.

If this is the best that we can do in the nature of emergency arrangements I suggest that the Fire Brigade be asked to inspect them as they do with picture theatres and public halls. I would be most interested to know their comments, if they were printable.

—I am, etc.,