WIU joins nationwide efforts to raise awareness about fire safety

MACOMB, Ill. (NEWS3) – September is Campus Fire Safety Month and nationwide college campuses are making an effort to raise fire safety for students.

Western Illinois University is one of those campus communities trying to make students aware of how to respond in an emergency.

WIU’s Office of Public Safety (OPS) Acting Director Derek Watts explained in an interview how the dorms on campus are designed in case of a fire emergency.

“According to code, all the residence halls now have sprinkler systems in them,” Watts said. “If there is a fire, the sprinkler system will go out and believe me, they do put out a lot of water.”

WIU student Max Thrower lives in one of the residence halls on campus. He said it’s important to know fire safety and the proper precautions.

“In my fire science class, we’ve gone over so many different cases of terrible, and unfortunate fires that have happened in other dorms that resulted in death because they (students) didn’t take the fire drill seriously or they weren’t prepared for it,” Thrower said.

Watts said students should remember that every drill must be taken seriously and that a false alarm can be a big-time cost.

“It depends on the alarm, but if somebody pulls the fire alarm, you can be charged with a felony for a false 911 call,” Watts said.

Two of the biggest tips Watts stressed was to follow evacuation procedures carefully and never leave cooking food unattended in the residence halls.