Film teaches UNA students about fire safety

by Student Writer Christopher Parker

Fire drills are a common routine for students living on campus. It’s often easy to forget the importance of these drills.

University Residences showed the film “After the Fire” to teach students about the importance of fire safety this year.

“Students should take every alarm seriously,” said Director of University Residences Kevin Jacques. “They’ll never know when it’s real or when it’s a drill. If they take them seriously, it’ll create a safe environment for students to live in.”

Freshman Austin Shelton said he thinks “After the Fire” helped students understand the importance of fire drills.

Students watched “After the Fire” Aug. 24. The film documents the story of roommates Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llano who were severely injured in a residence hall fire at Seton Hall University Jan. 19, 2000, which killed three students and injured 58.

After the film, Simons and Llano gave a short presentation about the importance of fire safety and allowed students to ask questions.

Jacques said he thinks the students were receptive to the presentation and better understand the importance of fire safety.

“Due to the fire at Seton Hall, resident advisors are not allowed to go door to door to every room to warn students in case of a real fire,” he said. “We advise them to at least yell or make noise while trying to get out themselves.”

Shelton, who lives in Mattielou Hall, said he thinks the drills are a safe way to prepare students in case of a real fire.

The state requires the university to have a fire drill within 10 days of opening a residence hall, Jacques said.

The Florence Fire Department times students as they leave the building during a fire drill and gives them reports on the timing, he said.

“When the fire department gets upset because students are lollygagging around, it’s because there are lives at stake,” he said. “Fire is no joke.”

Jacques said University Residences tries to do two fire drills each semester.

Sophomore Ashley Garcia, who lives in Rice Hall, said she thinks the random fire drill times are beneficial.

“A fire could happen at any moment and any time during the day,” Garcia said.

He said resident advisors are responsible for helping students evacuate the residence hall if there was a fire.

“Students are subject to punishment if they do not participate in a fire drill on a case-by-case process,” Jacques said.

Students learn about emergency exit locations and fire drill procedures during floor meetings on move-in day, he said.

Freshmen Brier Denham and Andrew Lawson, both residents of Rivers Hall, said they think fire drills are beneficial in helping students be more aware of what to do if there actually was a fire.

“They are a pretty good precaution to have, especially if it will help prevent injury in the event of a real fire,” Lawson said.