Springfield Fire Department urges students to brush up on their emergency safety plans

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield Fire Department is reminding students to think about fire safety plans they can put in place for their new dorms, apartments, or homes this semester.

Battalion Chief Brian Athen wants to remind students it's never too early to review their safety plans.

"They need to obviously have a good evacuation plan and that should be practiced," said Athen.

He said fire safety isn't always the first thing students think about, but it should be.

"As you're moving in you're probably not thinking about fire safety, you're thinking about classes and getting to meet friends and all of the start ups for the school year and everything," Athen said. "But you have to at least have that conversation."

He said 85% of university housing fires are cooking related.

"Most of our calls are cooking fires in the dormitories," Athen said. "They need to make sure to stay with their food when they're cooking it."

Other hazards he mentioned included candles and overloaded electrical outlets.

"[People] will use a multi-plug or an extension cord without a surge protector," Athen said. "Occasionally we get called out for an electrical issue where there's multiple electronic devises plugged in and it's shorted out so always follow that safety safety point."

Athen said the department works with Missouri State University residential advisers before students move in.

"We run them through a fire drill with simulated smoke and we have a live burn showing them how the furniture will burn really rapidly." he said. "We give them a lot of fire safety information that they can take back to the other students."

Athen said students living off campus have a few things to check as well.

"They need to make sure they have a sprinkler system and that it's been maintained properly [and] make sure that smoke detectors are working properly," he said.

Logan Pieske is a junior at Missouri State University. He said his emergency plan is always in the back of his mind.

"I've been in situations whether it was in the fraternity house or even a house at home where plans have actually saved our house or even myself," Pieske said.

He said in the past someone tried to throw homemade fireworks into his house. Now, Pieske said he tries to be as prepared as possible for any emergency that comes his way.

"You just never know when it's going to happen because we've had scares in our house and you always need to be prepared," Pieske said.

Athen said alcohol is also a factor that students should take into consideration.

"Of the fatalities that happen across the nation 76% of those, of the fatalities, are after a party." he said. "Alcohol is a huge, huge factor when it comes into the serious fires that we've dealt with across the country."

Click HERE to view more fire safety tips provided by the Springfield Fire Department.