Aug. 27, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – As part of Wilfrid Laurier University Orientation Week activities on both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, firefighters from Waterloo Fire Rescue and the Brantford Fire Department will set fire to model bedrooms to show students how quickly fires can grow out of control and demonstrate the importance of having fire alarms and safety plans.
The room burn demonstrations, organized by Laurier’s Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management department (SHERM) and the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, will be held in Waterloo and Brantford on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Two grease fire demonstrations will also take place on the Waterloo campus.
“Residential fires are one of the leading causes of fire-related deaths in Canada,” said Rick Fraser, Laurier’s emergency management and fire safety officer. “First-year students will benefit from fire safety education because they might be on their own for the first time and might not know how to react in these situations. It’s not every day we get the opportunity to provide a real-life visual and interactive demonstration to educate students about practicing fire safety.”
During the room burn demonstrations, firefighters will ignite a fire in an enclosed room made of typical residential construction materials, complete with bedroom furniture and a working smoke alarm. The room is left to burn until it’s completely engulfed in flames before firefighters put out the blaze. Throughout the demonstration, firefighters emphasize the importance of having an evacuation plan and following fire alarm procedures, as well as the necessity of having working smoke alarms.
During the kitchen grease fire demonstration, firefighters with Waterloo Fire Rescue will demonstrate how to properly extinguish a grease fire and emphasize the importance of never putting water on a grease fire.
“It takes the fire department, on average, about four to seven minutes to reach your residence, whether on campus or off campus, but fires evolve very quickly and can become uncontrollable in about two minutes,” said Fraser. “The takeaway is that you don’t have a lot of time. You need to know what to do, the procedures to follow and how to stay safe in your home.”
Fraser said partner organizations involved in the room burn demonstrations deserve credit for helping improve student knowledge about fire safety. “We’re so very appreciative of the support of Waterloo Fire Rescue, the Brantford Fire Department, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, Laurier’s Department of Residence, Physical Resources and the generous contributions of Thomasfield Homes Ltd. and KW Glass Systems Inc.”
The live demonstrations in Waterloo and Brantford are free and open to the public. In Waterloo, room burn and kitchen grease fire demonstrations will take place in the parking lot at Laurier’s Northdale location on Sept. 3 from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and from 6:30 to 7 p.m. In Brantford, a room burn demonstration will take place in the rear parking lot of 50 Wellington St. from 1 to 2 p.m.
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