Posted September 30, 2008 Atlanta
Communcations & Marketing
Contact Matthew Nagel
Georgia Tech students learned first-hand the dangers that occur when a fire breaks out in a dorm room. The Institute's fire safety unit recently burned a model dorm room built by Georgia Tech's woodshop with materials donated by The Home Depot, to demonstrate how quickly a fire can spread and the importance of working smoke alarms and sprinklers.
The Institute teamed up with the Atlanta Fire Department, Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office, the Center for Campus Fire Safety, the National Fire Protection Association, Underwriters Laboratories and the U.S. Fire Administration to conduct the demonstration and sponsor a safety fair designed to inform the Georgia Tech community on how to reduce potential fire incidents and burn injuries.
The event was held in recognition of National Campus Fire Safety month and there are some staggering stats to consider when weighing the importance of this issue.
In the past eight years, 94 people have died nationally in campus fires, with more than 80 percent of these occurring in off-campus housing. The Center for Campus Fire Safety, colleges and universities, as well as federal legislators all recognize the need for more fire safety education to college students and their parents.
On August 14, President George W. Bush signed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HR 4137) into law. A component of this new college safety law is the Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act. The legislation requires colleges and universities to report fire safety information to the U.S. Department of Education, including fire-related injuries, deaths and incidences, as well as fire detection equipment (i.e. smoke alarms, sprinklers) in on-campus housing.
During the interactive safety fair, students had the opportunity to crawl through a theatrical smoke-filled trailer that simulates the limited visibility in a real fire. In addition, students also learned how to properly use a fire extinguisher and fight a fire.
Along with fire safety materials and handouts, students received smoke alarms, donated by Kidde and had a chance to win Apple iPods donated by Simplex Grinnell.
Officials from Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Fire Department, and the Georgia Insurance Commissioner's Office (ICO) were on hand to address the importance of fire and life safety for college students and to support Georgia Tech's efforts to provide college students with a hands-on learning experience.
Some of Georgia Tech's efforts on fire safety include:
- Georgia Tech meets or exceeds all requirements outlined by the State of Georgia Fire Marshal. Annual inspections are conducted and rechecked by contracted agencies.
- Georgia Tech has a dedicated, fulltime time fire marshal, deputized by the State Fire Marshal, and two fire safety specialists on staff.
- Georgia Tech has smoke alarms in place on every hall and in every room in residence housing giving the campus in excess of 20,000 smoke alarms.
- Fire extinguishers are located in every hallway (every 75 feet).
- An annual fire exercise is conducted with local first responders and the Atlanta Fire Department attends Georgia Tech's monthly emergency preparedness meetings.
- 300 students are trained in fire safety in campus provided housing each semester
- All Georgia Tech RAs and housing directors receive fire safety training.
- A fire drill is scheduled during the first 10 days of each semester.
- Georgia Tech bans the following items/activities in student housing sleeping rooms:
Live Christmas Trees
Georgia Tech requires fire-resistance ratings on furniture (including, but not limited to, beds, mattresses, desks, and chairs) in student housing sleeping rooms.