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September is Campus Fire Safety Awareness month. Monmouth Fire Captain Craig Cozadd reminds students to treat every fire alarm as if it is an actual fire:
“With the amount of personal that we have and if it is a legit situation we have to concentrate on the life and safety of the students first. If we have a bunch of people in the building that did not get out, then it becomes a problem. It is hard for us to mitigate the fire and get the students out as well. Each alarm needs to be handled as if it is an actual fire. That is the first thing. The second thing, mainly a lot of the alarms we have there, they are highly sensitive at the college, which is good, they are great alarm systems, but cooking as in homes is kind of the number one problem. Microwaves etcetera, which they can have in there. The problem that we run into is they will put a bag of popcorn in there, walk away, and set it on ten minutes on accident then it of course burns the popcorn, sets all the alarms off. Basically what we ask is obviously if you are going to cook something in the microwave, stay and watch it,” Cozadd informs.
Captain Cozadd also stated to be mindful of curling irons and not using open flames or candles inside a dorm room.
You never know when a disaster will strike, but you can plan ahead for one to be ready at any moment. Monmouth Fire Chief Casey Rexroat states it is ideal to have two weeks of supplies in an emergency kit:
“Generally if you are going to develop a kit or something for your house, you want to have everything you can think of with food, water, and shelter. Clothes and some food and water to drink, things like that, things that keep you busy, if you have a medication that you take all the time, maybe have some extra of that as well. Then flashlights, phone chargers, and things of that nature are good to have too. Anything you think you might need to get you by for a week or so. They say to plan for two weeks,” says Rexroat.
Keeping supplies in your vehicle is just as important. During the winter, it is advised to carry blankets, snacks, water, and keep your vehicle filled up with gasoline.
As carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, Monmouth Fire Chief Casey Rexroat informs detectors should be placed midway up a wall and within fifteen feet of bedrooms:
“With carbon monoxide detection, I always tell people to follow whatever the manufacturer instructions are and go that route first. Beyond that, carbon monoxide is very similar in weight to air, so that does not mean it is going to go directly to the ceiling or go all the way to the floor or anything like that. Usually we tell people to mount them about head high of the room, about mid height. Also, you have to mount it within fifteen feet of every sleeping area in the house,” Rexroat states.
If it is a combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector, they should be placed near the ceiling.