With Fire Prevention Week underway, Shawnee State University (SSU) released their annual Fire and Safety report for 2016.
Aside from false-alarms and alarm activation due to cooking, there has only been one report of a fire on campus. On Aug. 4, the University’s Department of Public Safety and the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to a call about a fire in the dumpster behind Bridge View court.
The fire was started by two juveniles, it was promptly put out by the fire department without further incident.
In order to keep these occurrences low, the university and the Department of Public Safety has set rigorous policies and prevention plans to ensure student safety.
According to Shawnee State’s Department of Public Safety, all campus housing units are covered 1oo percent with fire sprinkler systems and a central fire alarm system, in addition to carbon monoxide detection devices. The department also works to make sure students are informed and educated on what to do and where to go should an emergency occur, by practicing two fire drills each semester.
To prevent fires, students are not allowed to smoke in any of the residence halls or buildings, including electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and hookahs. Per the Student Conduct Code smoking in a residence hall can result in a $250 first offense fine and a $500 second offense fine.
As a fire safety precaution, possession or burning of incense, candles, sterno, kerosene or oil lamps, similar flammable materials, and the use of matches is prohibited in every student room, even during the loss of electrical power. Candles are prohibited even as decorative items. Portable heating devices (space heaters), petroleum fuel, motorized vehicles, gasoline-fueled machinery and explosive devices or materials are also not allowed in housing.
Students are also encouraged not to overload sockets and to use surge protectors on extension cords and outlets.
Resident Advisors (RA’s) are also provided with fire safety and fire extinguisher training to aid in first-response to a situation.
“It is very educational and hands-on. They have guys come from the fire department and show us the different sizes and how to operate the extinguisher,” said Xandria Adkins. Adkins has spent the past four years serving as an RA in the Tanner building. “Our Department of Public Safety also has a machine that lets us practice putting fires out. They check the fire extinguishers regularly and they both show up in a timely manner to assist the RA’s on making sure everyone is out of the apartments along with locating the apartment that is experiencing an issue.”
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