If you are thinking
of enrolling in a College with Unsprinklered Dorm, I would say;
“NO! STAY OUT! AND STAY ALIVE!”
This is the theme of the new guide that I would like to
develop as an alternative to the USFA (United States Fire Administration)
“Get Out and Stay Alive” Public Education Piece. We would not stay in a
non-sprinklered hotel or motel, so why are we sending out students and
children into a non-protected dormitory?
With 188 public and private colleges in Illinois
holding over 750,000 students (it is the equivalent of Illinois’ second
largest city); the unprotected student population is not a small risk. The
vast majorities of those/your students are living in unprotected low-rise
dorms and high-rise dorms. With incendiary/arson the leading cause of fires
in these locations accounting for 33% of the fires (that number is doubled
the normal residential occupancy) then we have a great potential for fire
injuries and deaths. In the National University of Health Science Fire of
January 9, 2001, in Lombard, the Wheaton College Campus fire of July 19,
2001, the Decatur Milliken frat house fire of 2001 with one death, the
DeKalb Northern Illinois University High-Rise fire and the recent May 5,
2005, student apartment fire in Bloomington, IL, all are message from fire
itself that the danger is ever present and waiting for the opportunity to
The choice goes back to which college and university is
providing the best overall fire safety. If fire sprinklers are part of the
protection package that school should be recommended highly in that
category. The overall weight of that decision should be a high priority
over all other academic reasons. Which should place that school in the “NO
In Illinois, the Life Safety Code 101, 2000 Edition has been in effect
since January 2, 2002, but it only pertains to High-Rise Dorms (75 &
over) so while State Law mandates these installations to retrofit
several factors dictate the protection in individual municipalities.
Does your school follow the State Fire Marshal mandate?
Private schools are covered under the individual towns’
adopted fire and building code, while public institutions are covered under
the code adopted by the Illinois Board of Education. Either way, the time
is now to adopt new school policies that will address sprinkler retrofit in
dorms and residence halls.
Governor Blagojevich signed The Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act into
law as presented by State Senator Larry Walsh, Representative Moffit,
and Representative Dan Burke, which requires all dormitories to be fire
sprinklered by 2012. Does your college have a fire sprinkler retrofit
To those schools and towns with high-rise dormitories
you must get together for a sprinkler retrofit timetable and discuss the use
of NFPA (National Fire protection Association) 13R and steel, copper, and
CPVC (Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride) used successively in Notre Dame
University, IN, and Northwestern University, IL. Those colleges and
universities with Low-Rise buildings also need to meet with your fire
departments and building departments with new State Law to discuss the
benefits of retrofitting as over 82% of the fire deaths occur in a
residential type of occupancy.
Until then, congratulations to the successful joint
enterprise in Evanston, IL with the Wildcats of Northwestern and the
Evanston Fire Department under Fire Marshal Alan Berkowsky and Chief
Wilkenson. Let us follow the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
America Burning Recommissioned Report where a community’s choice for fire
protection should be fire sprinklers.
Remember!!! Stay out of an unsprinklered dorm to stay
safe! We do not want to hear later from the fire officials….” If this
dormitory only had fire sprinklers, this death would not have occurred!!!”
Congratulations to North Central College in Naperville,
Dominican University in River Forest and Elmhurst College in Elmhurst for
pro-actively installing fire sprinklers in their dorms.
OUT AND STAY ALIVE"
Get Out and Stay Alive is a program designed to help save
your life in case you find yourself in a fire saturation. This program focuses
on three main topics: Getting Out, Prevention, and Protection