Stillwater News Press

October 9, 2013

Oklahoma State University fire team gets ready for safety seminar

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Members of the Oklahoma State University School of Fire Protection and Safety Technology have teamed up with the Stillwater Fire Department and others to educate the community on fire safety from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Lowes.

Coordinator Sean Morrison said the event has been in planning stages since April. The need for education is needed, he said.

“Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for highest level of fire-related deaths,” he said.

Morrison said Stillwater experienced a fire death two years ago.

“It just seems that it doesn’t need to be that way,” he said. “We should team up with the fire department and bring a program out to the community that teaches fire safety.”

And Saturday’s event aims to do that with events such as a side-by-side burn at 10:45 a.m. Two mock rooms, one with a sprinkler system and the other without, will be set on fire.

“Fire doubles in size every 30 seconds and you have the time it takes for the smoke alarm to realize there is a fire and then someone has to call the fire department and they have to respond,” Morrison said.

Morrison said the average time for a room to reach flashover, the temperature in which everything in a room catches fire, is usually eight minutes. However, he said with synthetic materials, he’s seen that time as low as four minutes.

“The sprinkler systems aren’t designed to put the fire out,” he said. “They are designed to contain them so it doesn’t spread.”

A $1,000 grant from the Home Fire Sprinkler Association has made this demonstration possible, Morrison said.

“They’ll be amazed about how fast everything is,” he said.

Another portion of the day is dedicated to the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

“They call it the most intense two minutes in the world,” he said.

“They go through basically the different stations that deal with firefighting. OSU is the only collegiate team in the nation that participates in the event.”

Recently, two OSU teams competed in Tyler, Texas, qualifying for the world competition.

Stations include dragging a 265-pound dummy a certain length and ascending a stair tower in short time.

Morrison said they will also be giving away free smoke detectors with batteries. Children will have the chance to climb inside fire trucks from Stillwater and Ingalls along with a LifeNet ambulance.

Morrison said he hopes someone will take the reins and further the event to become annual after he graduates in May.

“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for the Stillwater community to learn about fire safety,” he said.

The event will be held rain or shine.