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Fire Safety Day to Feature Burning Residence Hall Simulation

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 11) - September is Campus Fire Safety month, and SUNY Plattsburgh is celebrating it in a big way on Fire Safety Training Day, Thursday, Sept. 18. The day will provide attendees with the chance to witness a fire in a mock residence hall room and more.

The activities will begin at 10 a.m. when dense theatrical smoke will fill a hallway on the ground floor of Kent Hall. Participants will have the chance to walk through the hallway in a practice evacuation. This activity will run throughout the day until 2 p.m.

A mock residence hall room will also be constructed between Kent and Macomb halls. It will come complete with a number of fire hazards. Attendees will be asked to spot the hazards.

At noon, President John Ettling will welcome Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak and announce the college's intentions to provide the city $21,500 a year to help fund fire protection services.

This presentation will take place next to the mock room. In the event of rain, it will be moved to the lobby of the Angell College Center.

Following the presentation, the mock room will be set on fire so individuals can witness the effects of a fire and how quickly it spreads. The Plattsburgh Fire Department will demonstrate its skills by extinguishing the fire.

Activities throughout the day may include demonstrations of a sprinkler system, fire extinguishers and more. In addition, an aerial ladder truck will be on display and a number of organizations will be distributing information on fire safety.

The day will end at 7 p.m. with a presentation in the Warren Ballrooms, in Angell College Center. At that time, representatives of the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control will speak about fire safety. Refreshments will be served.

Members of the campus and community are invited to attend, including property owners and local emergency responders.

"Planning for this day took a lot of collaboration," said Keith Tait, director of the Office of Environment, Health and Safety on campus. "From the students, to the landlords, from college staff and faculty, to Plattsburgh fire fighters, from the University Police to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, this is truly a joint effort."

Pi Alpha Nu, one of the fraternities on campus, also played an important role in getting the event off the ground. Members have been working on fire safety with the University Police, have helped promote the event and will host a table in the Angell College Center all week to help get out word about this event.

Some financial support for the program came through the grant-funded Drug Free Community Support Program. Written into this grant are plans for supporting enhanced enforcement and extra educational awareness activities.

"Drug and alcohol intoxication can play a role in both increasing the risk factors for fires and in impairing an individual's ability to get out of a burning building," said Assistant University Police Chief Jerry Lottie. "We are very pleased to be partnering with the Drug Free Community Support Program on this initiative."

Studies have shown a link between alcohol impairment and death from fire. Information like this will be distributed, through the "Underage Drinking Is Not a Minor Problem" and the "Work Hard, Play Smart" campaigns. Some of the day's activities may also feature the use of alcohol simulation goggles, thereby increasing attendees' awareness of the role substances may play in fire safety.

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