Fire Safety

Contents

Introduction

The College of Saint Benedict has a legal and moral obligation to annually provide Fire Safety Education to all students, residents, faculty and staff. Programming includes the education of the staff and student workers during the weeks of training before the school year begins.  Opportunities are provided for instruction of the causes of fire and proper extinguishing methods with hands-on use of fire suppression devices.  Fire Safety Education continues during floor meetings when Residential Life Staff inform all residents of evacuation routes and maps located in each room. Also, at that time, residents will be advised of the appropriate procedure for evacuation and the location of their meeting places.

Each year, the college and the monastic communities are required to perform fire drills to insure that the occupants of the buildings respond in a manner that would promote safe evacuation of the facilites without injury or someone being overcome by fire or smoke. Evacuation of any facility should take less than 2 minutes with all occupants exiting through the proper exits and going to the pre-established meeting places. All individuals exiting a facility should move 500 feet away from the building to accommodate security, fire, and rescue personnel. Also remember, where there is fire, there may be an explosion. You will need to be far enough away so that you are not inadvertently struck by flying debris.

DON'T TAKE YOUR SAFETY FOR GRANTED!

If you live, study, or work on campus, take precautions to protect yourself, others, and campus property from smoke and fire.  As a member of the campus and monastic communities, you have a responsibility to help prevent fires.

Fires on campus can start in many different ways.  Hazards include:

  • Smoking materials: Carelessness with cigarettes, matches, and candles accounts for many residence hall fires.  The College of St. Benedict has a policy for a smoke-free environment in all college buildings, residential and academic.  Also, it is a housing policy violation to have candles or potpourri in your living area.
  • Decorations: Some decorations ignite easily and allow a fire to spread rapidly.  These include holiday decorations,  posters, and flammables tacked to the ceiling.
  • Trash: Accumulations of trash and newspaper, especially in hallways and stairwells, are a fire hazard.
  • Flammable liquids: Commons materials like paint, paint removers, hair spray and duplicator fluid can be fire hazards if they are not handled or stored properly.
  • Furniture: A cigarette, incense or potpourri that falls on an overstuffed chair or mattress can smolder for hours, then suddenly burst into flame.
  • Appliances: Electric blankets left on when an individual is not in bed; clothing irons and/or curling irons left on, lying down and unattended, or used on a bed; toaster ovens with accumulated grease or left on or unattended; hair dryers laid down while they are on or used to dry clothes; and food left unattended in a microwave are just some of the hazards.
  • Avoid causing false alarms: they are a hazard!  They create a mood of apathy so an individual may not react quickly enough to save his or her own life if there is a real fire.  Also, if fire trucks are out on a false alarm, they won't be available to fight a real fire if one is to occur.

Responding To An Alarm

Treat all alarms as though they are real. Even if you don’t see anything, you never know if there is trouble elsewhere in the building.

  • Evacuate if possible through the NEAREST exit.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Move at least 100 feet clear of the building and stay out of the way of rescuers and firefighters.
  • Do not re-enter the building until there is an all-clear signal from the fire department and/or security. 

If there is smoke:

  • Test the door with the back of your hand. If it is hot, stay inside.
  • Stay close to the floor.
  • Hold your breath and close your eyes when possible.

If you stay in the room, proceed with the following:

  • Use wet clothing or towels to seal the crack under the door.
  • Open your window or break it open and hang a shirt or a bed sheet out the window to attract the attention of rescuers.
  • Call CSB Security at 320-363-5000 or SJU Life Safety at 320-363-2144 or 911 and let them know where you are.

In the case of fire:

  • DO NOT JUMP OUT THE WINDOW IF YOU ARE ON AN UPPER LEVEL.
  • Wait for rescuers to come to you.
  • Cover your face with a wet towel or piece of clothing and breathe through your nose.
  • Wet a blanket, sheet or other large item and drape it over your shoulders.
  • Crawl or crouch low to the floor.
  • If your clothing catches fire, remember to stop, drop and roll to put the flames out. Use a coat or blanket to smother flames.
  • Cool (not cold) water may be applied to minor burns.

ALWAYS TAKE FIRE ALARMS SERIOUSLY.

Fire Safety In Our Residence Halls

Fire Safety Means Saving Lives

Additional freedom of living away from home also means more responsibility.  Through our personal habits, decorating tastes, and room designing, we can put others at risk for a possible fire.  In a typical year there are an estimated 7,500 fires at colleges and universities.  In the past, we have had personal injury fires on our campus as well as a number of small fires that have damaged personal and college property in student rooms.  Common sense measures can easily be taken to correct fire hazards and prevent carelessness that may result in disaster.

Possible Fire Hazards

  • Do not use water to extinguish a fire; it will only spread the flames.
  • Do not use extension cords on heavy load appliances such as popcorn poppers, coffee pots and microwave ovens.
  • Space heaters are dangerous and are prohibited unless approved by Facilities Maintenance and the Residential Life Office.
  • Appliances, heaters or fixtures that give off smoke or smell funny should be unplugged, turned off and reported for repair.
  • Candles and incense are strictly prohibited from all residence halls.

The College of Saint Benedict has a policy for a smoke free environment in all campus buildings.

Fire Safety Policy Statement

The College of Saint Benedict is committed to providing a safe, stable, and orderly environment for all of its residents and staff. A major aspect of creating that environment is a well-planned and implemented fire safety program. Fires are a threat to both life and property on the college campus and they must be considered a potential threat to the ongoing operation of the college.

The responsibility of establishing a sound fire program is that of the Safety Officers, the Department of Security, and the Department of Residential Life.  These three offices operate in a coordinate effort to direct actions that will lead toward the promotion and implementation of an effective fire safety program; however, each resident must take the initiative to prevent any situation that might lead to a potential threat to life or property due to fire.   It is the responsibility of the residents to report irresponsible behavior and unsafe conditions.  With the cooperation of each resident, the residential areas will be safe and their occupants will be informed and prepared.

Department Objectives

  • Inform residents of potential fire hazards, fire safety issues, fire evacuation procedures and designated meeting areas.
  • Train Residence Life Staff to effectively respond to fire hazards, fire safety issues, fire evacuation procedures and methods for accounting for residents.
  • Improve, update, test and repair existing fire prevention and warning systems.
  • Assertively respond to individuals who are identified as being responsible for compromising any aspect of fire or life safety equipment or procedure.

WARNING:  Fire equipment in residence halls is a necessity.  It protects life and property. Tampering with fire alarms, extinguishers, smoke/heat detectors, standpipes, pull stations, hoses, exit signs, or fire doors seriously endangers that protection.  Damaging or manipulating such equipment would subject you to college disciplinary sanctions.  It is also a misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $700. Individuals found guilty of first degree arson are subject to a fine of $20,000 and/or 20 years in prison.