Words of life-saving wisdom were shared with Fire Science students as they conducted their fire safety inspection of UAV’s main campus on Sierra Hwy in Lancaster. While most people think of fighting fire as suppression, in modern times the focus has moved towards prevention. “Prevention is the first step in fighting fire,” said Mr. Ron Stanick, one of the University’s Fire and EMS instructors.
Stanick, along with co-instructor Mr. Bill Ramsey, walked the students around the campus in seek of potential hazards and fire safety violations. “What may seem as very ordinary conditions can create extraordinary hazards,” Mr. Stanick said, emphasizing that many considerations of fire safety may not be as obvious as one thinks.
According to Mr. Stanick, some of the most common hazards that can be found in these types of inspections include blocked or obstructed exits and using temporary power devices, such as extension cords, for permanent delivery of electricity.
“In a facility such as this campus,” Mr. Stanick said, “the existence of dormitory living presents more details which need to be assessed.” Items such as hardwired smoke detectors in living areas, fire extinguishers every 75’, clearly marked exits and evacuation plans, and ensuring that any storage spaces under stairwells do not contain combustible materials are further considerations which apply to multi-unit residences.
As well, both Mr. Stanick and Mr. Ramsey had some valuable advice to offer for ensuring safer conditions at home.
Being sure to have operable and maintained smoke detectors can help warn occupants that a hazard exists before it’s too late. For households with hearing impaired members, alarms with flashing strobe lights are also available.
Having an accessible and well maintained fire extinguisher can help prevent small fires from becoming large fires. It is also essential that the fire extinguisher instructions are read and understood prior to needing it. One basic way to operate most fire extinguishers is the mnemonic P.A.S.S.
o P ull the pin
o A im at the base of the fire
o S queeze the trigger
o S weeping side to side motions
Pre-planning for evacuation is also essential. “You have to ask yourself, ‘What if?’” Stanick said. “What if I am on the second floor and a fire consumes the bottom floor? Is there a safe way out for me or my kids?”
Also, having a pre-arranged meeting location for occupants to regroup after evacuation is crucial. “It’s not unheard of for all of the members of a family to evacuate a home, only to not be able to locate a child or spouse. This can lead to someone trying to run back into the dangerous situation to find their ‘missing’ loved one and getting hurt or killed, only to find out later that the ‘missing’ person was hiding in the back yard or somewhere else.” Stanick said. By having a pre-arranged meeting location, there is less doubt and uncertainty as to whether or not everyone made it out safely.
Mr. Ron Stanick concluded by stating, “A fire well-prevented is a fire well fought.”
Throughout UAV’s Fire Science program, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of scenarios and demonstrations ranging from fire prevention to suppression; rescue operations to preparation for their CPAT. The education and hands-on experience gained during the program provides students with the foundation needed for a career in fire services. If you are looking for a career in fire services, the first step is education. Fall semester starts August 27 with limited space still available.
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