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Emory Fire Safety Office makes Safe Campus Top 25 list

Emory's Fire Safety Office has been named to the 2016 Top 25 list by Safe Campus, the National Campus Safety Summit.

The department, directed by Bridget Steele Mourao, was recognized for its accomplishments in improving campus safety this past year. The Fire Safety Office is in the Emory Police Department, which is a division of Campus Services.

“I believe the award is a direct result of the work that Bridget did with Emory’s Environmental Health and Safety Office to develop the latest fire safety program and video for students,” says Emory Police Chief Craig Watson.

“Emory Fire Safety is always looking for creative ways to increase fire safety awareness on campus. We give special attention to the students who are now living independently from their homes and families,” says Mourao, who was named director in 2005.

This year the focus is on cooking safety within the residence halls.  

Emory Fire Safety and the Emory Environmental Health and Safety Office collaborated to produce their first video, “The Cooking Fire Challenge.” The two offices plan to make a series of safety videos that are entertaining and educational.

The video "is focused on helping students to develop safe cooking habits while reducing cooking related incidents, and reducing fire alarms caused by food left unattended while cooking,” says Mourao.  

The most critical areas for fire safety are within student housing. “Students are living full-time on campus, independently, and many are cooking on their own for the first time,” she says. “The fire drills we conduct each semester serve to teach residents the sound of the alarm and how to evacuate safely, but also allow us to ensure the system is working as designed.

“We continuously review the fire alarm reports to identify issues and apply safety training techniques to reduce the number of  preventable fire alarm activations,” she adds.

Community training

Emory Fire Safety also offers fire safety training to the entire Emory community. “We offer general fire safety, extinguisher and emergency evacuation training to students, staff and faculty,” Mourao says, noting that training can be accessed through ELMS or Blackboard.

“We also have specialized mobile training equipment that we take around campus to practice extinguishing small fires. We create a real fire and the participants extinguish with a special extinguisher,” she says.

The Safe Campus Board of Advisors chose this year’s Top 25 List out of 4,706 eligible U.S. college or university administrative departments. Each administrative department was nominated based on its efforts and improvements in campus safety for the student body in that school.

“We work with many other organizations, in a collaborative effort, helping Emory to be a safe campus and community,” Mourao says.

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