afternoon, September 20, 2007 two student rooms burned on campus!
Thankfully, these rooms were props (mock-ups) built by Cresswell
Brothers Construction as part of Fire Safety Fest 2007. The two
hour event on the DMZ featured food from AVI, music by the Party Pros,
and several fire safety demonstrations involving the Kutztown Volunteer
Fire Company. Students had the opportunity to see several types of fire
extinguishers demonstrated. Even Avalanche, the campus mascot, got in
on the action! Some of the other activities involved a few students
“dressing out” in firefighter protective gear and table top fire safety
displays. Door prizes donated by Kutztown University Student Services
Inc, SimplexGrinnell and Kistler O’Brien were given to those students
who participated in the activities. A limited number of free T-shirts
were given to the first visitors to take the Fire Prevention Pledge set
up by the housing staff.
highlight of the afternoon was the burning of the resident rooms. The
first room was equipped with a smoke detector and an automatic fire
sprinkler (like ALL our rooms at KU) and was furnished and decorated
like a typical student room. A fire was ignited in a trash can, and
within seconds, the smoke detector activated. As the flames crept up
the wall, the heat activated the fire sprinkler mounted on the ceiling.
Within one minute, the fire was not only contained, but completely
extinguished. Most of the furnishings and personal property in the room
second room didn’t make out so well. This room was NOT protected with
smoke detectors or fire sprinklers (like many off campus options,
sadly), and in addition to furnishings similar to the first room, this
one showed some decorating options that are prohibited by KU’s housing
regulations because they are unsafe (decorative lights, candles, ceiling
tapestry). A similar fire was lit in the trash can in this room. After
a few minutes of silent (but deadly) smoldering, the flames erupted.
They worked their way up the wall and across the ceiling. Within a few
minutes everything in the room was consumed by fire.
The purpose of
this graphic display was to show a true life example of the speed and
power of an uncontrolled fire. Most of the estimated1000 students in
attendance were amazed at the amount of heat given off by a fire in a
single room. The speed at which the fire spread was also eye-opening to
the observers, who cheered when the volunteer firefighters (including
some KU students who volunteer with Kutztown) stepped in to extinguish
the fire after only 4 minutes of open burning.
Health and Safety created a fire safety survey, completed electronically
by staff and students; the surveys received show a great increase in the
percentage of people who believe that fire sprinklers make a difference
by saving lives and property. This was one of the goals of the event;
to raise awareness of the importance of fire safety systems and