Where there’s smoke

As anyone who has walked by the corner of Bellflower and E 115th Street can attest, former Cleveland City Council President George Forbes’ home recently sustained fire damage, fortunately without injuries. This incident serves as a reminder of the destructive power of fire. Recently, CWRU has experienced some near misses with fire as well, so some reminders are in order.

Residence halls are the most important place to start. Perhaps by now you have been rudely awakened by the sound of your building’s fire alarm going off at an inconvenient time.

Here are a couple of things to remember. If the fire alarm goes off, evacuation is mandatory for your safety. Tampering with or trying to disable fire alarms is both illegal, against university policy, as well as a stupid idea. Open flames are prohibited in residence halls (this means you, candles), and items like space heaters and Christmas trees fall into the same category. You can check out firesafety.case.edu for a full list of prohibited items.

Fortunately, most of our fire alarms are false alarms, usually caused by cooking errors. Some solutions are to monitor what you cook at all times when using heat sources such as microwaves and ovens. Following the directions on the package can also be surprisingly useful—adding water, not doubling the time or heat recommended, etc. Many of the incidents we have seen in science labs over the years also fit into the “not following” or “rushing through instructions” category.

Finally, for all the smokers out there, remember that cigarettes are a heat source. Be sure they are properly put out, especially before sleeping. Thirteen years ago, a John Carroll University senior died the week before commencement in a late night party and cigarette-related fire. Enough said.

Let’s look out for each other.

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko and Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. We welcome questions, suggestions and gripes/groans/moans/complaints about campus life at policecolumn@case.edu.