U.P. fire department decreases fire drills for safety

MARQUETTE — Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed September as Campus Fire Safety Month and NMU has gone above and beyond to honor that.

Through a collaborated effort through NMU Housing & Residence Life, NMU Public Safety and the Marquette Fire Department some major improvements have been made to improve training in case of a fire emergency.

It all starts with intense staff training for the residence and community advisors.

“We actually smoked up a hall,” said Assistant Director of Housing & Residence Life Jeff Korpi, “we simulated what it might look like if there was a fire in a residence hall and trained staff to how they can properly respond to that.”

The Marquette Fire Department is extremely involved with the planning as well.

“They come in and they do tours of our residence halls and our other academic buildings,” said Fire Security Specialist Lee Gould, “so if they do have to respond to something they’re familiar with the layout of these buildings. Fire extinguisher checks, making sure those are per state regulation, those are checked monthly. We have fire alarm systems in all of our buildings making sure those are tested per code, they’re active and working. They all report back to our dispatch center. If there ever is an emergency, we know right away what’s going on and we can get the appropriate people there.”

Prior to this semester, fire drills took place once per month. Due to some changes at the state level, NMU is only required to do one per semester.

“We’re actually going to try and do two per semester,” added Korpi, “just to get one more chance to practice for students to know and kind of simulate if there were an emergency where they exit the building at and kind of get them in the habit of doing that.”

The reason for decreasing the number of fire drills is to increase the urgency from students when the alarm goes off.

“We want to find that right balance,” added Gould, “so that people are knowing where their exits are, knowing how to safely exit the building and get out, but not so much that they’re getting complacent so when the fire alarm does go off they think it’s just another drill when really it’s not.”

Several other fire prevention techniques are taught as well.

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