Fire Training

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Some Rockford college students escape a smoky dormitory building. It was only a drill for residential advisors, but an important one.

Smoke seeps into a Rockford college dorm room. Students try to keep fire out by blocking door cracks and closing vents. When escape becomes the only option these students crawl to a stairwell. It was all a part of a Rockford Fire Department drill for Rockford college resident advisors.

"It was a little scary. I've never been through anything like that before and it's an eye opener for us. And we can tell other students this will happen and this is how you should do it," says Jeanine Rybaski, a senior.

There are 1700 dorm fires across the country each year which is why fire officials say students should know how to prevent fires and deal with one if it happens."

"We’re doing a lot with haven't done before. It's a good workout for us to know how to deal with fire," Rybaski adds.

Fire officials say the real trouble with dorms isn't always a real fire.

"They become accustomed to all these false alarms and they don't pay attention to the alarms. In the event of a real fire we have real problems with rescue and we have to go in and get a lot of people out," says Chief Frank Schmitt.

Students also learned how to detect fire hazards and how to use an extinguisher. This is the first time the fire department has offered this training in several years, but with this successful drill the department plans to retrain students every semester

Theatrical smoke was used for the mock fire. Chief Schmitt says cooking is the number one cause of fires. He says other dorm hazards are smoking, overloading electrical sockets and dangerous lamps such as halogen lights.