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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Fire Safety Yes!

    College is a time viewed by society when each student should be devoted to discovering where his or her future is heading. While this outlook is encouraged by the faculty and staff of the University, they wish that during this period of exploration the students guard themselves and their peers from fire hazards.

    In this millennium alone, 89 people have been killed by on- and off-campus fires. One of the most effective methods in preventing these catastrophes from affecting our community is by educating the student body on the methods used to minimize the occurrence of fires.

    September has been declared Campus Fire Safety Month by the State of New York. The University has decided to display its support by hosting its own Fire Prevention Week. During this week The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH’S), along with several other departments, has taken steps to teach the students on campus about the causes of campus fires, and how to maintain laboratory and campus residence safety.

    When a group of people is confronted with an emergency, the person who has the best chance of avoiding injury and panic is the one who has planned ahead. This past week the EH’S set up various activities to help promote fire awareness.

    On September 12 and 14, several EH’S members held a live demonstration that taught the public how to use a fire extinguisher and how to respond in case of a fire. This past Wednesday, September 13, the EH’S hosted a fire exposition and fair outside the Student Activities Center.

    There was a plethora of intriguing displays, along with several exercises that depended upon direct participation from the students. Among these were the Fire Education Trailer, which simulated the conditions found in real fires and taught the students how to navigate themselves around a house that had caught ablaze. “The Burning Stove” demonstration coached students on how to properly manipulate a fire extinguisher.

    The Director of EH’S at Stony Brook, Gary Kaczmarczyk, stated that his primary goal in having this event is “to increase the level of awareness and involvement among the students on campus.” He said that he “want[s] the students to realize that in a fire every second counts and by understanding this they could be making the difference between life and death.”

    There are many incidents that can trigger fires. However, with each of these incidents there are measures students can take to remain safe. The most prominent six causes of dormitory fires are arson, cooking related incidents, smoking, halogen lamps/candles, overloading electrical outlets, and alcohol related incidents.

    One of the things that you as a student can do to prevent a fire in your living quarters is to never overload outlets with multiple plugs. In addition, you can refrain from using extension cords, never cover light bulbs with paper or clothing, and avoid using candles in your dormitory. Another simple act that students can practice is to immediately respond to fire alarms when they sound. If you hear a fire alarm, evacuate! It is that simple.

    When you’re in a laboratory conducting an experiment there a few vital bits of information that you should be knowledgeable of in order to avoid a fire. For instance, you should handle all materials with care and be sure to know how each material is meant to be used. You should also be able to locate the fire extinguisher, emergency eyewash, and emergency shower. Also be sure to properly store all of the materials you used during the experiment.

    Fire safety requires the involvement of every individual here on campus. If each person does his or her own part we can make our campus free from the fatalities of fires.

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