Fire Safety sets campus aflame

Editorial by Kernel Staff. E-mail [email protected]

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been participating in fire drills since fire was invented. And fire was invented a long time ago.

From early preschool days when we first toddled into single file lines with teachers yelling that we should remain calm until now, the concept of evacuating a building in a timely matter has been drilled into our heads.

In grade school, the “troublemakers” pulled the fire alarms then lived in fear of being caught. In high school, we tried with varying levels of success to look cool and semi-mature while flocking out of a building en masse.

In college, a fire alarm pull means getting out of class, or it means someone pulled a practical joke on the poor kids living on the top floors of Kirwin and Blanding Towers.

Despite all of the practicing, would we really know what to do in the event of a fire?

When a fire starts on campus, all of the fire drill practice may actually work against students. Think about it: you’ve practiced half-heartedly evacuating (or, dare I say it, not evacuating at all) since the time you learned what fire is.

When a large group of people is contained in one building, fire safety becomes paramount. Combine the number of people in any given UK building on any given day with the fact that most of those people are students used to blowing off drills, and you potentially have a little taste of Dante’s inferno.

Though the words “Fire Safety Education” may call to mind songs from childhood about stopping, dropping and rolling, it’s vital that students know how to deal with fire-related accidents on a college campus.

As college students, we know that campus is full of potentially dangerous situations.

Confused chemistry lab partners, cigarettes (yes,even though campus is smoke-free), and even people wrapping each other in toilet paper and lighting a match are all potential campus fire starters.

Last year, 28 fires had to be extinguished on UK’s campus; it would be foolish not to educate yourself on what to do the next time things go up in flames.

Fire officials need to give students fire safety information, but much of the responsibility for a safer campus lies with the students themselves. Only you can take that fire drill at 2 a.m. on the coldest day of the year seriously, or stop that pyromaniac roommate from torching something.

September is Dorm Fire Safety Month, the time to learn evacuation procedures for the campus buildings you frequent.

Take advantage of the free educational events hosted by the Office of the Fire Marshal this month, and get a free T-shirt in the process. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher because you know you secretly wanted to use one during all of those years doing fire drills.