In Case of Fire, Have an Exit Strategy

September 13, 2010

Do you know where to go if there’s a fire where you work, go to class or hang out? It could literally save your life.

Gov. Rick Perry signed a proclamation in June declaring September as “Campus Fire Safety Month” in the state of Texas. This proclamation supports a nationwide effort to educate students, faculty and staff on the importance of fire safety on our university and college campuses.

In conjunction with this effort, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC) Environmental Health and Safety Management office, along with the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office, has introduced “Have an Exit Strategy Where You Live, Work, and Play.” This initiative is designed to educate all Texans on simple fire safety rules and ensure that all properties have clearly marked and freely accessible exits.

These efforts come after a study of the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., where 100 patrons lost their lives, and a 2004 random inspection by the Texas State Fire Marshal of bars, nightclubs, lounges and dance halls in eight Texas counties. Of the 189 establishments inspected, 182 had means of exit violations.

A study by the National Fire Protection Association found that Americans overestimate the amount of time they might have to escape from a fire. Although many believe they would have at least six minutes to escape before a fire becomes life-threatening, the reality is fire and toxic smoke spread much quicker.

“The emphasis of the Have an Exit Strategy campaign is to remind all of us that we should look for two ways out of every building we enter and remember that in a fire emergency, the best way out might not be the way you came in,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for The Texas A&M University System.

For more information on Campus Fire Safety Month and the Have an Exit Strategy initiative, contact the HSC-Environmental Health and Safety Management office at (979) 458-7242,  Office of the Texas State Fire Marshal at (512) 305-7900 or go online to one of the following links:

— Marketing & Communications