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The question in regard to fire-escapes in the college buildings will be settled within two weeks. The authorities have had the matter under consideration for some time, and have delayed definite action only in order to secure such fire-escapes as will be best under every consideration. The plan of permanent ladders, such as are now on Matthews and Holyoke, was objectionable in several ways. On the front of the buildings situated like Hollis, Stoughton and others, the ladders would be ungainly-looking objects. Moreover, in summer they would give an easy access for thieves or other evil-disposed persons to the students' rooms, and so many ladders could not be thoroughly watched. Another plan proposed was that of short balconies extending on the outside of the building around the fire wall. These would enable students, in case of fire, to go from one section of the hall to another. The objection to this plan was, that to reach these balconies entrance would have to be forced, in a great many cases, into the student's room which communicated with the balcony, as the occupant of the room might be away. This would consume much valuable time. If the balconies were extended the whole length of the building, there would be less fear of this danger, but such long balconies would be as ungainly as permanent ladders.
Among other fire-escapes considered was the large canvas bag, which when thrown out reaches by a long incline from the entry to the ground, and through which persons can slide safely out of the burning building. These large bags, however, are very bulky, and could not well be stored in the entry or in any student's room. The most practicable fire-escape seemed to be the ordinary rope, and it is possible that in the end this plan for safety against fire will be adopted. If so, a plain rope will be furnished each student who desires one, but he will be obliged to keep it constantly attached to a staple in the window and coiled below ready for use. Otherwise the precaution would be almost useless, for the ropes would soon be thrown into some closet or elsewhere, and in time of fire would not be on hand.
In deciding on the best plan of escapes, the authorities have not considered expense at all, but are looking only to the interests of the students and of the college.
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