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Volume 72, Issue 124, Friday, April 6, 2007

News

Program teaches how to survive fire

by JARED BARNES
The Daily Cougar

The UH Department of Public Safety is encouraging the campus community to participate in the statewide fire safety program called Have an Exit Strategy.

The goal of the program is to avoid tragedy by encouraging individuals to locate a second exit when entering a public place. 

"People typically try to exit a place the same way they enter," UH Fire Marshall Bob Bowden said. 

The greater the involvement of the campus community, the more likely it is to avoid a disaster like last week's Houston office building fire that killed three people and injured at least six others, Bowden said. 

Program officials created the campaign after a fire in 2003 at a Rhode Island nightclub fire that claimed 100 lives, Bowden said. 

In that incident, patrons stampeded towards the club's main entrance when a fire broke out, ignoring the other four exits. As a result, the doorway became crowded, one patron fell, others followed and everyone was trapped behind entangled bodies.

Campus groups not already involved with the program can contact the UH Department of Public Safety and schedule a group demonstration, Bowden said. 

The demonstration includes background on the program, a video showing how quickly a fire can spread and information on how to design an exit strategy from any building.

Bowden estimates 25 percent of the campus community is already participating in the program and that involvement will increase as group demonstrations continue.

"So far I think the program has been very effective," he said.

Have an Exit Strategy demonstrations can be scheduled by calling the UH DPS at (713) 743-0600. 

For more information on the program, visit www.haveanexitstrategy.com. 

 Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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