By Paula Solis
As part of Baylor’s annual Oso Safe Campus Safety and Awareness Day, students will have the chance to enjoy a Dr Pepper float, and then watch as a dorm room is set on fire.
The Waco Fire Department will place at 4:15 p.m. Today in a mock dorm room in front of the Bill Daniel Student Center on Fifth Street and,., intentionally set it on fire as part of this year’s fire safety lesson.
The entire Campus Safety and Awareness Day event will begin at 3 p.m. in the Barfield Drawing room. This “live burn” is the third one in a row on Baylor’s campus which started in the fall of 2011.
“We decided it would be an appropriate way to highlight safety activities on campus,” said Leigh Ann Moffett, director of emergency management at Baylor. “There will also be resource tables during the Dr Pepper hour with extra information for students, faculty and staff.”
Baylor’s history with on-campus fires includes three fires in the last three years, as reported by Baylor’s Campus Crime & Fire Statistics. All three were in 2010 and one was in an on-campus residence.
National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit advocate for fire prevention, cites on their website a demand for increased campus fire safety. In the four-year period between 2007 and 2011, fire departments around the nation responded to more than 3,800 fires on college campuses resulting in two deaths annually, according to the NFPA’s website.
During the live burn, Waco Police Department Training Chief Paul Simmons will be on site to walk those in attendance through the steps of escaping a fire like the one demonstrated. Simmons will also have an open discussion to answer any question.
Moffett said that in the past, attendance has not been great but she said she hopes that by combining the event with Dr Pepper hour a larger crowd will turn out. According to Baylor’s new release, the fire will produce heavy, dark smoke. However, Moffett said that as soon as the demonstration has served its purpose, the fire department crew from engine four will extinguish the fire safely.
The Baylor Police Department will also have a representative out today to discuss campus crime and prevention with students, said Steven Eskew, Baylor Police Department’s Fire Safety Specialist.
Other organizations that plan to discus campus safety today include Baylor Student Health Services, Waco/McLennan County Emergency Management and the Waco McLennan County Public Health District. A representative from each of the organizations will be available to speak with students on various issues of campus safety.