Posted at 12:34 p.m., Dec. 5, 2014

Broken sprinkler system floods residence hall floor

Laramie County Community College Residence Hall occupants had to evacuate the halls Oct. 31 because a broken sprinkler system on the first floor had flooded the surrounding area.

Jason Ostrowski, director of residence living, said, “The evacuation itself went really well.” Luckily, few students were in the dorms that Halloween night, which Ostrowski said made the process much easier.

The evacuation procedure is fairly simple. Once the alarm sounds, students are supposed to go to the nearest exit. RAs and staff will then knock on every door to alert students that the alarm is not a drill and to pick up anyone who may have not heard the alarm.

Next, the students assemble in the multipurpose gym, where the RAs take roll and identify who can be accounted for. Afterward, the residents wait for further instruction.

The RAs go through extensive training for these procedures, Ostrowski said. The RAs are in charge of 276 students at capacity. Because of this responsibility, each is required to complete a week and a half-long training period every year in the summer. Members of the fire and sheriff’s departments assist during the training to teach the RAs the proper guidelines and procedures. The trainees then go through a mock fire drill.

Afterward, in a debriefing, they discuss what they did wrong, what they did well and what needs work.

Routine drills are also completed twice a year, usually in September and February.

Julie LaBounta, who lives in the Residence Hall, said she was immediately ushered into the PE Building when the alarms went off Oct. 31. “They made us sit there for three hours, and then the fire department came in and said if you can find a place to stay, that would be good,” LaBounta said. “An hour later they said the West Hall was fine for people to go back to their rooms, but all of my plans were canceled.”

Luckily, for the students involved, no serious damage was reported when the sprinkler was broken and the room was flooded.

Leandra Pfizenmaier, a Residence Hall occupant, said the students whose rooms were affected were able to wash and dry their clothes for free before being housed in vacant rooms.

If no vacant dorms were available, the students would have been housed in a motel. The students will be able to return to their original rooms once the damage has been repaired.