Healthy "U" February Newsletter
Fire and Safety Awareness
by Robbie Whitmore, Fire Safety Officer, Campus Safety and Security
Fire hazards arise from unsafe conditions and practices, and every Hood employee, staff or faculty, and every student, whether a resident or commuter, has a responsibility and vested interest in making a concerted effort to correct, improve, and maintain a safe environment.
Although all causes of fires cannot be prevented, many causes can be. Knowing what to do in the event of a fire in the building in which you are occupying could very well save your life and the lives of others, as well. Below is a list of some tips for you to ponder.
Misuse/Malfunctioning Electrical Equipment: Electrical equipment must be used in an appropriate and responsible manner and must meet certification for safety by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or a similarly recognized testing agency. Never overload outlets or power strips. If problems with tripped breakers occur, it's time to find another power source! Do not staple cords to walls or floors; extend them through walls or ceilings, or place them under floor coverings.
Extension Cords: The use of extension cords in place of permanent wiring is not only a Fire Code violation, but a serious fire hazard, and their use in this manner is strictly prohibited on campus. Power strips equipped with a surge protector should be used in place of extension cords. Never connect (piggyback) power strips together, and only use those that are UL approved. Note: Extension cords may be used on a "temporary" basis to provide power to an appliance or equipment. However, they should be disconnected from the power source when finished using the equipment.
Heat Generating Appliances: These types of appliances create a fire hazard if used improperly or left turned on while unattended; for example, a portable electric heater. Although prohibited from use in residential areas, they are allowed in office spaces. However, they should be UL approved and have no open heating elements. Users should maintain a minimum of 24 inches of clearance around combustibles, and they should be turned off when not in use. Hair appliances and heating pads are the only heat generating appliances allowed in residential hall dorm rooms. More information can be found in the Student Planner Handbook.
Open Flame Devices: Any open flame devices, such as candles, are not permitted in the Resident Halls, office spaces or academic buildings on campus.
Storage of Combustibles: Areas used for storage should be kept neat and orderly. Accumulation of trash and storage, piled up in a haphazard manner, is a fire hazard and an unsafe condition. Storage of any item must be kept no closer than 18 inches of all sprinkler heads in order to maintain the integrity of the sprinkler system.
Smoking: Last but not least, as we all know, smoking is strictly prohibited in all buildings on campus, including porches, balconies, fire escapes, and restrooms. Smoking is permitted outdoors, however, cigarette butts should always be disposed of properly in the provided receptacles and not just discarded on the ground where they could end up in the mulch bed or dried grass and leaves.
Tips to Remember
If the building fire alarm sounds, you need to evacuate. Always assume the alarm indicates an emergency and evacuate to an area which should be at least 100 feet from the building. Failure to see fire or smoke does not mean a threat to your safety is not present. Never, never, assume it "is only a drill". To do so may cost you your life!
Do Not Use the Elevator!
Know the locations of all exits, not just the ones near your dorm room or work area. Heavy smoke or fire may be blocking the exit that you would normally use. It is a good idea to know the number of doors from your room, not only to the nearest exit, but to the alternate one as well. A smoke filled, dark hallway will look totally different than normal, and by following the wall and counting the doors as you go, you will find your exit. Keep your room or work space clear and unblocked. Do not allow storage or other obstacles to accumulate in corridors, hallways, or aisle ways. Allow room to get out! You may have to exit in a hurry!
Mindfulness Meditation - Mondays
Relax and learn stress reduction techniques by meditating with Beth O'Malley in the McHenry Interfaith Prayer Room, Mondays, 12:15-12:45 pm in the Coffman Chapel basement.
Yoga at Hood - Tuesdays
Free yoga classes are provided by Sol Yoga. Classes meet Tuesdays, 5:15-6:15 pm in the Dance Studio in Gambrill Gymnasium. Because of mid-term recess, there will be no class on March 11. The last class will be Tuesday, April 29.
Hood Walking Group
- Still Walking on Tuesdays
Hood's walking group leaves at noon from the plaza between Alumnae Hall and Hodson, the
group walks for approximately 30 minutes rain or shine.