Ashland, Oregon

Fire Safety and Campus Life

When summer rapidly draws to a close, the Southern Oregon University campus quickly springs to life as several thousand students return from a well-deserved vacation to once again undergo the rigors of their educational pursuits. Soon, all that will remain of our warm, sunny summer will be the memories of fun, family and friends as Fall drifts by and Winter arrives. I'm reminded of five thousand people in the U.S. last year who have enjoyed their last summer because they have lost their lives in fire-related incidents. Imagine, enough people to constitute the annual enrollment at SOU! Given this reality, perhaps my time might be best spent sharing with you what I have learned working as a firefighter for the last twenty years.

Fire does not always happen to someone else. The reality of fire statistics show that fire is no respecter of persons - it can happen anytime, anyplace, and to anyone. Accidental and incendiary fires in Oregon schools resulted in over twenty one million dollars in losses in 1989. Every fire carries with it losses that can never be reclaimed. Consider your personal property comprised of keepsakes, gifts and remembrances that could never be replaced. Imagine how our lives would change without those treasures which remind us of persons, places, and experiences that are very much a part of us.

Each year Ashland Fire & Rescue responds to numerous fire alarms in campus housing. With few exceptions, these alarms are false in nature and generally the result of student pranks. When each of these alarms are received at the fire department, firefighters and equipment respond promptly. As thoughts of fire racing through occupied buildings preoccupy their minds, they arrive only to discover, that rather than being rescuers, they have themselves have become victims. With the help of our college students, we can help insure fire safety on campus and provide a safe environment for learning to take place.

The following information can help insure a fire-safe and productive life on campus:

  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire fatalities in living facilities.
  • Heating equipment is the leading cause of fires in living facilities.
  • Flammable liquids should never be stored in living facilities.
  • Fire detection and extinguishing equipment should be
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fire injuries.
  • Fire doors and exits should be free of obstructions and maintained in working condition.