• Students browse the free fire-safety giveaways at Campus Fire Safety Day, sponsored by the Division of Student Life and the Environmental Health and Safety office. Held in the East Campus Courtyard, the event also featured staff from MIT Medical, who provided health and wellness information, and staff from MIT’s Security and Emergency Management (SEMS), who talked about emergency preparedness.

    Photo: Abigail Licnikas

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  • Organizers brought a variety of fire extinguishers, including dry chemical and carbon-dioxide models. A specialist in fire safety explained the range of available models and the types of fires each extinguisher can put out.

    Photo: Abigail Licnikas

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  • Mark Collins (left), the Emergency Coordinator and Life Safety Officer at Harvard University, shows a student the proper way to extinguish a fire. The technique is called PASS: Pull the pin; Aim at the base of the fire; Squeeze the lever slowly; Sweep from side to side. The test fire was produced by a BullEx box, which has sensors to determine where the trainee is aiming and to vary the flames in response, providing a realistic and safe training experience.

    Photo: Abigail Licnikas

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  • A student discharges a carbon-dioxide extinguisher. “Some students were surprised that even for a small fire, the extinguisher may not always put it out,” said Abigail Licnikas, Environmental Health and Safety Program Manager for DSL. “There is no guarantee that, even for a small fire, the extinguisher is going to put it out and keep it out.”

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  • The Cambridge Fire Department demonstrated a controlled burn for students in the demonstration trailer owned by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. Firemen lit a T-shirt on fire to show students how quickly a fire can spread before the temperature is high enough to set off a sprinkler system –– between 150 to180 degrees.

    Photo: Abigail Licnikas

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  • The burnt T-shirt, after being extinguished by the demo trailer’s sprinkler system. “Fire safety is always a major concern on campus,” said Licnikas. “We regularly have fire alarms, as well as the occasional live fire, and we want the student community to understand that fire needs to be respected. When an alarm goes off, students need to leave the building.”

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How to aim a fire extinguisher

Campus Fire Safety Day teaches fire prevention and fire safety


The proper way to put out a fire is to aim the extinguisher at the base of the flames, not the top, and sweep side to side. And, since practice makes perfect, students were invited to try out their technique on a live fire in East Campus courtyard last Friday for Campus Fire Safety Day.

Sponsored by the Division of Student Life and Environmental Health and Safety, the two-hour event featured a controlled-burn and fire-extinguisher demonstrations. Students received bags filled with fire-safety giveaways and filled out quizzes on fire safety and carbon monoxide for the chance to win TechCash prizes.

More than 60 students stopped by to learn about fire safety and try their hands at using a fire extinguisher. “We’re thrilled with the turnout,” said Abigail Licnikas, Environmental Health and Safety Program Manager for DSL. “Everyone had fun and also learned a lot.”


Topics: Campus services, Students

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