Nationally, there are approximately 3,300 campus-related housing fires each year including both on-campus and off-campus student housing. On average there are 7 deaths, 46 injuries, and $25 million in property damage each year. According to the Center for Campus Fire Safety, between January 2000 and March 2014, 123 people lost their lives in campus related fires. While most of these deaths occur in off-campus housing, there have been nine deaths on-campus and ten deaths in Greek housing. For the past four years, The Princeton Review has rated Duquesne the highest possible score (99) in its Fire Safety Rating Honor Roll. This is a measurement of how well prepared a college is to prevent or respond to fires in campus residence halls. Last academic year only 23 institutions, from 1,106 institutions reviewed, received the highest possible score. As a measure for prevention and education, Resident Director, Nick Dubos, developed a detailed plan using fire marshals a number of years ago. The goal for each LLC floor is to have at least two volunteer fire marshals from separate rooms. During the 2013-14 academic year, a record 250 students were fire marshals. All fire marshals attend a mandatory, one-hour fire-safety training session. General fire safety is discussed and information specifically pertinent to Duquesne University LLC’s.
During training, The Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act of 2008 is examined. “Real life” videos are used to bring home the point of how deadly fires can be. Duquesne’s LLC’s are not immune to fires, as occasionally small fires do occur. DuBos states that “students have been amazed at how much smoke results from even a small trashcan fire.” A fire can double in size in just 30 seconds, so reacting quickly is crucial. Soon after the training session, an evacuation drill is held in all LLC’s.
All fire marshals receive a “Duquesne University Fire Marshal” certificate and a red “fire marshal” poster, to place on their room door. Every fire marshal is also given a lime green colored vest, which they wear during a fire alarm. Fire Marshalls receive an e-newsletter every few weeks which are educational in nature and discuss recent fire news.
Every year numerous fire marshals become RA’s or take on leadership roles in student organizations and DuBos believes that the fire marshal program plays a role in this regard. Often, being a fire marshal is the first organization freshmen become involved with and they take being a fire marshal very seriously. Interested students should contact their LLC Resident Director to sign up for training.