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The Woods
hey dubbed the event, “Burn It, and They Will
Come,” and come they did. Between 200 and
300 William Woods University students turned
out Sept. 9 to watch the Fulton Fire Department torch
a mock residence hall room to see just how quickly a
room can go up in fames…how little time they may have
to escape a fre…and what they can do to prevent a fre
and protect themselves.
Mike Wills
, WWU director of residential life and campus
safety, believes William Woods is focused on safety,
with specialized training for students and staff in
frefghting and emergency evacuation.
Despite their efforts, Wills said, “Fire safety remains a
challenge for universities. You’re always looking for
ways to keep it fresh and make an impact, so
students remember what to do.”
Wills attended an Association of College and University
Housing Offcers international conference in June and
returned with the idea, borrowed from Syracuse University.
“They did a live burn demonstration on their campus,
and they talked about how successful it was.
They showed students just how fast a room burns,
what it looks like, and what it feels like,” he said.
Mid-City Lumber in Fulton donated the supplies to build
the 10’ x 8’ mock residence hall room for WWU, and
Todd Gray
of the Fulton Fire Department constructed it.
The live burn did not focus on the ignition (such as a
candle, overloaded circuits, frayed extension cord,
space heater or cigarette), but rather on what Wills
called, “the reality of the result.”
“We wanted them to see how quickly a spark grows
to a fame and engulfs a room…and to feel the
unbelievable heat it gives off," Gray said. "We
measured the temperature of that room at three
minutes at more than 1,000 degrees. Even from a
very safe distance, you could feel the heat.”
Wills added, “Showing them what fre will do to their
rooms formed a lasting memory. You could see it on
their faces. That memory will mean more than words
on paper, should they ever fnd themselves in such a
dangerous situation.”
Mock Room Goes
Up in Flames
By Mary Ann Beahon