University offers free fire safety, training seminars

Kelly Metz and Kelly Metz

Whenever the dreaded fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night at a residence hall, Resident Advisors run to their station.

They, as well as other staff members on campus, were taught to do this through Fire Safety Training at the beginning of the year.

John Curlis, the University’s Fire Safety Inspector, holds training sessions as often as necessary which teach new employees what to do in case of an emergency.

Nearly 30 new University employees sat in the College Park Office Building yesterday and learned about fire safety, fire protection and safety devices as part of an orientation program that some departments require.

Kate Whitmore and Jacque Hahn are among the new employees from Internal Auditing who came to the session and didn’t know what to expect.

‘I don’t know what this training will entail nor have I talked to anyone about the training,’ Whitmore said.

Curlis began the session asking how many employees knew where fire extinguishers were located or whether they changed the batteries to their smoke or heat detectors.

He followed this by sounding off a smoke detector and explained the differences between each safety device.

Fire extinguishers are a main focus of the training sessions. Curlis asked how many employees knew how to operate a fire extinguisher and was not surprised to learn a majority of employees didn’t know how.

‘I’m not here to tell on anybody,’ Curlis said. ‘I’m only interested in correcting problems and acquainting people with what’s around and with the equipment.’

A live demonstration was given outside where each employee had the chance to spray a fire extinguisher using the PASS (Pull, Aim, Spray, Spread) technique.

‘The training session was useful,’ Sally Snider, a campus employee said. ‘We have a lot more confidence now in case we are ever faced with a dangerous circumstance.’

Whitmore also believed that overall the training was a success and believes that if all departments are not required to take this training, they should be.

‘We learned a lot through what the instructor told us,’ Whitmore said. ‘We have learned a lot and got a boost of confidence.’

All these training sessions are free and open to students, University staff and the general public. If interested, contact John Curlis through Environmental Health and Safety at 419-372-2171.