Event kicks off Campus Fire Safety Month

Tommy Sullivan

The department of environmental health and safety is taking the lead to inform students of fire safety during the month of September. 

University Fire Marshal Bob Austin said learning about fire safety is especially important for first-year students here at WKU.

“A lot of these freshmen have lived at home all their lives,” said Austin. 

Austin said understanding fire safety is also important for community living. He offered the example of accidentally setting off the sprinkler system in a residence hall, which could ruin the property of students living with you.

Sgt. Shannon Pardue of the Bowling Green Fire Department shared similar thoughts about the importance of fire safety in new living environments. 

“Your first time on your own, you have more responsibility,” said Shannon.

According to environmental health and safety’s website, August and September are the deadliest months for collegiate house fires.

The WKU department has hosted one fire safety event and is planning one more this month.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, environmental health and safety will be in Centennial Mall with the Bowling Green Fire Department from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The focal point of the event will be a trailer that simulates a house or apartment fire. The fire department recently bought the trailer from BullEx for use in fire-safety education.

The trailer is designed like an apartment with a bedroom on one end and a kitchen on the other. 

The kitchen appliances, including a toaster, oven and microwave, spew smoke when activated by a remote control. The bedroom door heats to very high temperatures to mimic the heat of a door to a flame-filled room.

Participants must unplug the appliances or extinguish simulated fires with infrared extinguishers. The experience prepares them for a real fire.

In addition to the trailer, other safety activities will be available. 

“I will be doing fire extinguisher demonstrations,” said Austin.

The fire department and environmental health and safety department held a block party with Bowling Green’s Neighborhood and Community Services organization at Ogden Park on Thursday, Sept. 17.

The fire department displayed its trailer, and Neighborhood and Community Services raffled smoke detectors and other items. There were inflatables and grilled food, too.

Besides contributing to the events,  the department of environmental health and safety has been tweeting fire-safety tips, including information about escape plans, fire statistics and smoke alarms, throughout September.