Accident preparedness and response is impressive
August Pelliccio – Features and Opinions Editor
On Oct. 19, Southern News reported on a fire in the Adanti Student Center. The most important takeaway from that article was this university’s preparedness for the unpredictable, and the potentially devastating.
On the day of the fire, Wayne Ricks, acting battalion chief for the New Haven Fire Department said no additional fire suppresion was necessary at the time of response. In other words, firefighters responded to a situation that had already been handled by built-in fire supression systems.
Each student will take that as they may, but to me, that adds a degree of personal security and safety. I know now, that the campus buildings were built to respond to dangerous situations.
It is not something I thought of day to day, but since the student center fire, I have been noticing the sheer amount of safety and emergency equipment installed around campus.
On my way to class, from Wintergreen Garage, I could not count on two hands, the number of installations of safety equipment.
On each floor of the student center, for example, the landing in the staircase has a fire extinguisher, a fire alarm and a water tap for fire hoses to connect.
Walk out of the staircase, and down the hall, and these pieces of equipment repeat, periodically as you walk by.
Several telephones are installed on each floor, solely for emergency dialing.
Classrooms in each building have built in sprinklers in the ceilings. This is standard fare in public buildings, mind you, but counting each fire suppression system I see in a day surely adds a secure feeling.
The food court in the student center suprised me, in particular. Before firefighters arrived on scene, Oct. 19, before any employee had the time to run out in the hall, and break out an emergency fire extinguisher, the flames were gone. A wet chemical suppression system had sprayed foam from just above the hood vents, and there was no more emergency.
This university has its grounds covered, two steps beyond first responders. Emergency response is foolproof; the failsafe has its own failsafe.
Situations where these pieces of equipment are utilized are not common, either. It is not like this university has so many fire suppression systems in place because it the risk is particularly common. This all serves to protect students, faculty and staff who have pride in their institution’s safety procedures.
Since the construction of the Adanti Student Center, there has not been a single other case where the systems were activated. However, they are always there, and always on call. It is nice to know that they work as planned when the unexpected occurs.
Between the safety protocols that prevent accidents, and the seemingly unending list of reactive equipment, I say that the university is absolutely prepared for accidents.
We can all walk around every day, knowing that if something incidental were to put us in danger, we are protected.
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio, Palmer Piana