Safety first: flames in the dorms - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Safety first: flames in the dorms

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As the summer winds down, college students get ready to say good-bye to mom and dad and head off on their own, but with the new responsibilities the college years bring come new dangers.

Monday a group of students at Augustana College got a lesson in safety from some professionals.

It was a group of Augie's residential advisors and they learned all about fire safety from Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

RA's are kind of like the guardians of their floors in the dorm.  So fire rescue's main goal was to give them the skills they'd need to use if the dorm ever went up in smoke.

The flames look frightening, but they're part of a learning tool for Augustana's RA's.  RA Crystal Ortbahn says, "we're responsible for our floors, so in case of a fire we want to be able to get everyone off of our floor and get everyone out of the residence halls."

To give the RA's this ability, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is showing them the ropes.  Fire Inspector John Wagner says, "if they know what to do before it happens, it'll make things smoother."

This is the campus fire safety academy.  The students learn about smoke danger, see a live controlled burn, they learn how to use safety equipment and eventually, they suit up, and walk in a firefighter's footsteps.

The toughest part for Crystal?  Dragging the 140 pound dummy to safety.  She says, "it's difficult, because it's heavier than you would think.  Dead weight is heavy."

By doing activities like using a fire hose to knock over a cone, the students get a better understanding of the work firefighters do.  Wagner says, "it makes the RA's more confident in what they do for their job and role here."

The goal is to show the students how dangerous a fire really is and that no matter what if the smoke alarm is going off get out.  Because Wagner says, "well, basically, that fire will kill you."

Now Crystal knows how to fight back.  She says, "just this experience has gotten us in the right mindset so that if there is a fire we'll be able to respond appropriately."

Because if a blaze breaks out, their fellow students will rely on the RA's response.  Crystal says, "yes, we could save lives."

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue will hold the campus safety academy again this Thursday at the University of Sioux Falls.

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