Mason Joins with Community Agencies to Present Life Safety Fair for Students

Posted: September 22, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Last Thursday, Mason’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety set a dorm room on fire – but it was done to promote safety.

The fire was the culmination of what is expected to be an annual event, the Life Safety Fair, which is aimed at residential students.

The event was held in Presidents Park, the freshman residential area. It featured booths and information on health, alcohol and personal safety, and there was a heavy emphasis on fire safety, including fire extinguisher training.

Organizers estimated that 500 to 600 students attended the three-hour fair.

A mock dorm room attracted the most attention. The room was set up outdoors and was furnished like a typical student’s room, with posters, clothing and furniture.

The reverse side of the room carried a sobering message: It was covered with the names of dozens of students who had perished in campus fires across the country.

reverse side of mock dorm room
The back of the mock dorm room served as a memorial to fire victims on college campuses.
dorm room pre-torching
The mock dorm room before it burned.

Fortunately, none of the names were of Mason students. “We want to keep it that way,” said Rosie Clark, Mason residential fire safety coordinator. “That’s why we’re doing this.”

After the area around the mock dorm was cordoned off, Fairfax firefighters lit a small flame in the room. In less than three minutes, the room was fully engulfed in flames, demonstrating how quickly a room fire can become fatal.

mock dorm room ablaze
The mock dorm room ablaze.
Mason Gazette photos
firefighters extinguishing the blaze
Firefighters extinguishing the blaze.

Just as large pieces of ash began to float above the spectators, firefighters put out the fire with a strong blast from a hose.

In addition to the City of Fairfax Fire Department, University Police, Mason’s Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education, Student Health Services, WGMU, American Red Cross and the Electrical Safety Foundation International participated in the fair. Sodexo, Domino’s Pizza and Coca Cola Campus supplied refreshments.

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