Auburn Fire Department, university units to conduct special fire safety training at Jordan-Hare
The Auburn Fire Department will conduct a training exercise at Jordan-Hare Stadium this summer that will have long-term benefits for not only local firefighters, first responders and the university community as a whole, but future game-day fans as well.
On Thursday, June 8, between 10 and 15 Auburn firefighters will hook up firehoses to pressurized pipes at different connection points around the stadium to conduct firefighting scenarios. The training will take place from 8 a.m. to noon, and several sidewalks around the stadium will be closed during this time, due to water that will be released from the hoses. The sidewalks on the east side of the stadium near the Tiger Transit bus stops and the Student Center will be closed, as well as the sidewalks on the west side of the stadium on Donahue Drive. Ongoing summer construction projects around the stadium will also be a factor, so anyone entering the area during this time is required to follow proper safety precautions by wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as a hard hat, safety glasses and steel-toed or sturdy shoes.
The firefighter-training event was scheduled in conjunction with testing of the stadium’s sprinkler system, to be performed by university contractor Brendle Sprinkler Company. According to the Auburn University Risk Management & Safety Department’s (RMS) Safety & Health Programs Manager Chris Carmello, the university is required by the National Fire Protection Association to test dry sprinkler systems every five years.
“It was time for us to test the system at Jordan-Hare, and the fire department had already asked if they could come get some training at the stadium if we ever charged the pipes with water,” Carmello said. “This is not a safety issue; that’s not why we’re doing this. This is simply a once-in-every-five-years opportunity for the fire department to get some hands-on experience on-site, at an outdoor location where they’ll actually be able to use high-pressure water hoses while training.”
According to Carmello, there are important differences between a “wet sprinkler system” and a “dry sprinkler system” that made this training at the stadium more attractive to the fire department. Wet sprinkler systems always have water in the pipes, but dry sprinkler systems, such as those at the stadium, do not, which means there will be a bit of a lag in the time it takes the water to spread throughout the pipes when charged.
“This training will give the fire department a better idea of how quickly the water can get to where it needs to be in the event of an emergency at the stadium,” Carmello said.
In addition, unique factors during the training will present some challenges to the firefighters. For example, there are three connection points around the stadium that will be utilized for training – one on the east side of the stadium and two on the west side. The connection on the east side requires a different type of connection, so the firefighters will be challenged to run a different type of hose.
Carmello said this entire scenario would be a troubleshooting opportunity for everyone involved. “The fire department will get to troubleshoot what kind of issues they might be presented with during the event of a real emergency at a very high profile facility. Our contractor, Brendle, will be able to look for leaks or any weaknesses in the pipes, and, based off these results, RMS will be that much more prepared and able to address issues that could arise during game days. This entire effort ensures the safety of our game days and our game day fans.”
Several university departments and units worked with the fire department to make this training possible, including Risk Management & Safety, Auburn University Athletics, Facilities Management and Auburn University Public Safety.
Media Contact: Kati Burns, RMS Communications & Marketing | 334-844-2502 | email@example.com
Special Firefighter Training Day at Jordan-Hare: Auburn Fire commends RMS for help making game days safer for fans
Despite recent days of dark clouds and heavy rainfall, firefighters with Auburn Fire Division were thankfully met with sunny blue skies for their training at Jordan-Hare Stadium on June 8. It had been a busy night and morning for Auburn firefighters, with more emergency calls than usual, but close to 10 firefighters were on hand for the special fire safety training the division had desired to do for more than a year.
The fire department partnered with Auburn University Risk Management & Safety (RMS) to receive important training on the stadium’s wet and dry fire protection systems, while university contractor Brendle Sprinkler Company and RMS tested the sprinklers at the same time. This testing of the stadium’s dry water fire protection systems happens every five years, a requirement of the National Fire Protection Association.
“This was a once-in-every-five-years opportunity for the fire department to get some hands-on experience on-site, at an outdoor location where they would actually be able to use high-pressure water hoses while training,” said Chris Carmello, RMS Safety & Health Programs manager. “There are important differences between a “wet sprinkler system” and a “dry sprinkler system” that made this training at the stadium more attractive to the fire department.”
Wet sprinkler systems always have water in the pipes, but dry sprinkler systems, such as some of the standpipe systems at the stadium, do not, which means there will be a bit of a lag in the time it takes the water to spread throughout the pipes when charged. There are five fire hydrants around the stadium and two standpipe systems inside the stadium.
The training began on the ground level of the stadium with firefighters and staff with Brendle testing the pressure of the water and releasing any old water standing in the pipes. Firefighters then carried hoses up five flights of stairs to the very top of the stadium where they hooked up to the stadium’s standpipe system and waited for the hose to fill with water.
“It’s invaluable that we have this kind of training where some 80,000 fans could be gathered,” said Jeff Nolin, Auburn Fire Division battalion chief. “We need this kind of muscle memory and the experience of stretching the hoses in a building that we’re actually going to be working in.”
The training lasted from 8 a.m. until about noon. The testing allowed both firefighters, RMS and Brendle to find any leaks, breakages or other defects throughout the system.
“These scenarios help us to think about logistics ahead of time, like where we need to have personnel during game days and any situations they might run into trying to get to the fire,” said Deputy Fire Chief Matt Jordan. “If there is a fire, we’re going to have to evacuate people, move people around also.”
The stadium training was the first opportunity the Auburn Fire Division has had to use the “high-rise packs” purchased specifically for the stadium almost two years ago. The division typically has firefighters staged at the stadium during game days, with additional personnel to call-in if need be.
“This time of year, we’re thinking about football season, putting our people in place and just preparing for any new developments – like new constructions that may have gone up that could affect our response times or typical staging areas,” Jordan said.
“It’s our job to prepare for “worst case scenarios.” The university has done a great job making this a safe environment for the university community and the fans. RMS does a great job collaborating with us, inspecting fire extinguishers ahead of time, and managing contractors and vendors. We are always very impressed with their help.”
Media Contact: Kati Burns, RMS Communications & Marketing | 334-844-2502 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Auburn RMS Campus Fire Safety video named a “Pearls of Wisdom” contest winner
Member institutions of the UE were tasked in late 2016 with highlighting through a short video the innovative ways they have successfully reduced liability exposures on their campuses. Videos were judged on creativity and universal impact, or rather, their potential to teach others how to promote safer communities at their own institutions. Winners of the video contest received a $3,000 prize.
The winning video submitted by RMS featured the university’s first annual Campus Fire Safety Month campaign, part of a national awareness initiative created by the Center for Campus Fire Safety and recognized annually throughout the month of September. The video showed scenes from the department’s four-week series of fire safety activities, which included: A mock firefighter training obstacle course with the City of Auburn Fire Department; fire extinguisher training; informational campus booths; and a speech/documentary film screening given by Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons, two survivors of the 2000 Seton Hall University dormitory fire.
Photos and snippets of videos shot on staff members’ smartphones were pieced together using Windows Movie Maker to form the more than six-minute final video, and RMS Safety & Health Programs Manager Chris Carmello was the voice behind the narration.
According to Safety & Health Specialist Jon Haney, who led planning for Auburn’s Campus Fire Safety Month, most college students living on their own for the first time have not had fire safety education since elementary school, and the goal of the campaign was to reach as many students as possible.
“Unfortunately, students do not always realize how quickly a fire can occur,” Haney said. “Our job is to educate them and the campus community, to provide them with the tools they need to prevent fires from happening. Every individual has to take responsibility for fire safety.”
Haney thanked RMS Executive Director Christine Eick, Associate Director Chris O’Gwynn and Carmello for putting together the video and for their support, along with other members of RMS and the students for participating and making the campaign a success. “It’s truly an honor to receive this recognition,” Haney said. “A year’s worth of planning went into making this awareness campaign happen, and to have it recognized in our first year just reiterates that we’re headed in the right direction.”
Planning for the 2017 Auburn University Campus Fire Safety Month is already underway. To see Risk Management & Safety’s winning Campus Fire Safety video, click here. Other winners of the UE “Pearls of Wisdom” video contest included Gonzaga University’s four-minute video on managing risks presented by campus activities and events.
Media Contact: Kati Burns, RMS Communications & Marketing Specialist | 334-844-2502 | email@example.com
National Fire Protection Association offers fire safety tips on crowded buildings
Take necessary precautions to protect yourself in crowded buildings this holiday season and always be aware of your surroundings were just two of several tips offered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on Tuesday, Dec. 13. The NFPA delivered the tips following the recent fire catastrophes in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Oakland, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts, urging people to not be complacent.
In early December, a small forest fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, grew into an uncontrollable inferno as a result of sudden high winds and dry weather, burning thousands of homes and businesses, and killing 14 people. In Oakland, California, a deadly fire engulfed a warehouse during an electronic dance concert, killing at least nine people. And in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a massive, fast-moving 10-alarm fire – described as the largest seen in Cambridge in more than 35 years – destroyed 11 buildings and several cars before it was contained.
According to NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley in a statement to Occupational Health & Safety Online, these reminders are particularly important during the holiday season, when public areas are often overcrowded. “Most people don’t consider fire a significant risk, and complacency is one of the greatest dangers when it comes to fire safety,” Pauley said. “No one ever thinks it will happen to them. We hope these tragic incidents remind people that fires can and do happen, and that they need to be prepared in the event of one.”
NFPA’s fire safety tips for entering and spending time in crowded buildings include some of the following reminders:
- Be aware of surroundings. Are exits visible and easily accessible? Know your escape route ahead of time. If exits are blocked, file a complaint with the local fire marshal.
- Have a communication plan in place. In the event of an emergency, know who you will contact, and designate a “family meeting spot” outside of the building.
- React immediately. If an alarm sounds or there is smoke, exit the building. Do not return to the building for any reason; let trained firefighters conduct their operations.