Illinois fire officials come to Eastern to share fire safety

J.C.+Fultz%2C+public+information+officer%2C+and+Matt+Perez%2C+fire+marshall%2C+answer+questions+after+the+campus+fire+safety+presentation+on+Wednesday+morning.

Jessica Nantes

J.C. Fultz, public information officer, and Matt Perez, fire marshall, answer questions after the campus fire safety presentation on Wednesday morning.

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

Illinois fire officials and Eastern administrators gathered in Old Main Wednesday morning to discuss fire safety on campus in honor of September being named Campus Fire Safety Month.

Among the speakers were Eastern President David Glassman, Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez, Charleston Fire Chief Steve Bennett, Public Information Officer of the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal J.C. Fultz, and Eastern’s Executive Director of University Housing and Dining Services Mark Hudson.

Glassman acknowledged the fact that this month is Campus Fire Safety Month by addressing the importance of fire escape plans as students continue to acclimate to their living environments.

“As EIU students continue to settle into their EIU residence halls or in off-campus housing, September offers us all a great opportunity to develop and practice critical fire escape plans both on and off-campus,” Glassman said.

Hudson showed his gratitude to the Charleston Fire Department and sang high praises of their cooperation with Eastern during fire training.

“Also I really want to express my appreciation to CFD collectively. They come out every August and smoke up Carman Hall. It’s one thing to talk about what it’s like to be in a fire, it’s another thing to experience it,” Hudson said. “So when they smoke up those hallways and you have those RAs go through and staff teams, they learn about crawling on the floor and knocking on doors … I’m always impacted by the impression it makes upon those undergraduate students when they experience that training, it’s very powerful and very appreciated.”

Some of the tips provided by a press release from the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal advise students to check for sprinklers and smoke alarms in dorms and common areas, to never leave the kitchen while cooking and to never overload electrical outlets. Other tips can be found on the office’s website.

The press release also says that “According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fires in student housing cause an average of one death, 32 injuries, and $15 million dollars in property damage each year. Three out of four of those fires begin in the kitchen. The likelihood for a fire is greatest on the weekends and on weekdays from 5-9 p.m.”

In honor of September and October being the “most common months for student housing fires,” keep an eye on the stove when cooking and be conscious of your surroundings in case of a fire.

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]