Students fought a live grease fire, tested their fire extinguishing skills and brainstormed exit strategies with fire marshals to kick off Campus Safety Week at the Gregory Plaza on Monday.
Campus Safety Week, hosted annually by Student Government, promotes safety and well-being through activities that address topics such as transportation and bike safety, self-defense and cyber security.
SG invited the Fire Marshal and the Austin Fire Department to raise awareness and educate students about disaster training. Students put out controlled fires using fire extinguishers and learned how to respond to real emergency situations, according to Joe Limon, Austin fire battalion chief.
“I don’t take it for granted that even a 40-year-old doesn’t know how to use a fire extinguisher,” Limon said. “We have a lack of knowledge and education because we are so buried in our lives, we don’t think of safety.”
In a simulation, students fought grease fires to learn that using water actually makes fire spread when oil is involved, and smothering the fire is more effective, Jamie Perkins, outreach coordinator of the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office, said.
The fire marshals stressed the importance of finding two exit strategies wherever you go, Perkins said.
“We’ve found that most students we talked to had never even considered this,” Perkins said. “It is so important to consider how you will get out and how practical your plan is.”
Campus Safety Week exposes students to important messages students do not necessarily receive if they do not live in residence halls, Julianna Masabni, Kinsolving resident assistant and biology sophomore, said.
“This is really awesome and important because safety is something people take [for granted], especially in the residence halls,” Masabni said. “The majority of my residents are freshmen, so most of their energy is spent on doing well and making UT their home. They don’t spend time thinking about their safety.”
Masabni said students must be prepared to protect themselves beyond the atmosphere of campus.
“It’s important that residents know safety so they can take care of themselves out of the halls in the future,” Masabni said.