Purdue fire chief urges fire prevention, safety

August 20, 2012  

Kevin Ply

Kevin Ply
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By Kevin Ply
Purdue University Fire Chief

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Welcome to campus. As another academic year begins and you're in new surroundings or returning for the semester, it is a good time to consider a few tips to help keep you safe from fire.

These, along with other prevention measures, are available at http://www.purdue.edu/fire/safety_tips.htm

* Be aware of your surroundings, and if an event gets to be too crowded to move around, leave.

* Never throw any heat source, such as a cigarette, in the trashcan, even if you think the spark is out.

* Use an approved power fault electrical strip to plug in your electronics, and never overload an outlet or run a cord under a rug.

* Make sure there is a working smoke detector, and know at least two escape routes.

* Keep the hallways and exits free from debris and furniture.

* Never ignore a fire alarm.

* Always use stairs to get out during a fire alarm, never an elevator.

* If a fire does occur, stay calm, get out immediately and then call 911.

Our department, with a staff of 29 firefighters is available to you around the clock. Don't ever hesitate to call 911 if you find yourself in a threatening situation.

As the academic year begins, the Purdue Fire Department will be proactive in our prevention and safety efforts.

We have two fire department staff members whose sole purpose is to educate and ensure that housing is in compliance with Indiana code. Starting the first week of classes, they will visit each of the 64 fraternities, sororities and cooperatives to discuss fire safety and deliver a template for a building emergency plan. The houses will create their own plans from the template, which includes procedures for evacuations and sheltering in place and emergency arrangements for anyone with a disability.

Soon, these staff members will begin the process of conducting formal inspections of each house. These inspections are designed to identify any safety issues and ensure that they are corrected. We will do another round of inspections during spring semester. The fire prevention staff is always available to assist with event planning.

We also are already working with residence hall assistants on fire safety and what to do until an ambulance arrives during a medical situation. We have our own paramedics and ambulances right here on campus, so we are always close by.

We encourage parents to take an active role in student housing by asking questions and speaking to their students about fire safety.

Please take a few minutes to visit the Purdue University Fire Department website at http://www.purdue.edu/fire/history.htm to learn more about us.

We hope you have a great year at Purdue.

Kevin Ply is the Purdue fire chief. The Indiana Fire Chief's Association named him the 2010 Indiana Fire Chief of the Year for his efforts in college fire prevention safety.

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