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The other day, I posted a story about a former Pensacola Christian College student who had awful recollections of the school’s fire drill policy:

Of course PCC isn’t known for really caring much about fire safety anyway. For years the rule has remained on the books that all female students must be in “proper” attire before they leave their rooms for a fire drill. If you happen to be sleeping in pajama pants, you must take the time to put on a skirt before you try to escape the flames. If you should perish then at least you’ll know you died for the cause of not tempting the fire fighters to lust after you.

It seemed pretty unbelievable, so I sent an email to PCC asking them what their actual policy was in the case of a fire. Did they really require proper attire?
This was the response I got back:

Yes, we ask the girls if they can to grab knee length shorts or a skirt to quickly change in to. Once students exit the building they have to stand so far away from the building.

Seriously…? I had to write back.
But come on, in the case of an emergency, isn’t the first priority to get out of the building? When I was in college, if you were in the shower when a fire alarm went off, you would theoretically just have to go outside in your towel!
So maybe that policy is the hope, but if there’s a real fire, none of that really matters, right?
I got another response from the college:

Yes, the priority would be to get out of the building as quick as possible. The closets are right by the door on their way out of each room so it would be possible to be modest on their way out. A robe would even be fine.

So it’s true. In the case of a fire at Pensacola Christian College, the first priority is to dress appropriately. The second priority is getting out of the building as quickly as possible. No matter how they phrase it, that’s their mindset.
Or maybe getting out is the third priority. I was too afraid to ask when students were supposed to pray.
After my last post, some commenters referred to a 2002 fire at a girls’ school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Because they were not wearing proper religious garb, the girls were instructed to head back into a burning building. 15 girls died in the fire; who knows how many lives could have been saved if safety, not modesty, was the first priority.
I understand why PCC wants students to adhere to strict faith-based rules, but not when it could come at the expense of their own lives.

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.