“Stop for a minute to think about the fire safety. Don’t waste time trying to grab things.” – Larry Bess
In memory of two international students, Yawei Fan and Zheng Lin, who died as the result of an off-campus apartment fire last October, the Office of International Education, Student Life and the City of Emporia Fire Department held a workshop to cover the basics of fire prevention and safety on Tuesday.
“We don’t want this tragedy to happen ever again,” said Dinusha Warusavitharana, graduate student who is in charge of international student event programming. “We want to educate people as much as we can about these risks, that some apartment complexes may not necessarily keep their standards up.”
International students may not necessarily know about fire hazards in their off-campus residences or in the dorms, so Warusavitharana said it’s important to educate students about fire safety.
“We really encourage every student to attend this workshop, no matter where they come from,” said Rozita Smith, director of international student and scholar services. “This is really important for students’ lives.”
Captain Larry Bess of the Emporia Fire Department said that whether students live in the dorms or off campus, the workshop provided need-to-know information to prevent accidents and enable people to start thinking about what happens if they have a fire in their home.
Tom Andrews, fire marshal, also gave a presentation about how to use electric appliances correctly and how to make sure that smoke detectors are functioning properly.
Bess said that keeping doors closed can keep smoke and heat at bay, and finding a window as an escape can also help save a person’s life. If the fire is outside of the room, people can judge the heat by touching the door handle. Additionally, Andrews suggested that students should choose residences with automatic sprinklers.
“Our recommendation is to stop for a minute to think about fire safety,” Bess said. “That makes you know what to do if you can’t get out of the room normally. Don’t waste time trying to grab things, just get out and call the fire department.”