If you were driving through SUNY Plattsburgh on Thursday, you may have thought there was an emergency but don't worry.
The campus and surrounding law enforcement were teaching students why it's so important to understand and how to prevent fires.
So, Plattsburgh students no longer have to imagine what it'd be like to be caught in a fire. On Thursday, they lived it, safely of course.
SUNY Plattsburgh Freshman Amber Wethington went through a smoke-filled trailer: “Smoky, really smoky. It felt really realistic. I was scared! As soon as I went in there I was like shaking.”
“I didn't think it was going to be as bad,” said Cassandra Alfred, a senior. “As the smoke built up, you could see how it was going to be really scary in a real life situation."
It's part of campus fire safety month. The school's Emergency Management Department started planning this training day back in January.
Real life experience like this is so important especially on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus because the issue of fire safety hits so close to home.
“The campus has been touched personally by fire instances off campus in our off campus housing,” explained SUNY’s Emergency Management Director Michael Caraballo. “In 2009, there was a fatality on Court St due to a fire. Last year, on Couch Street there was a student that was severely burned."
“A majority of fire fatalities are from smoke, not from fire,” an instructor explained to the crowd.
Campus, Clinton County and Plattsburgh City responders volunteered some extensive services for the day.
Students witnessed a staff member rescued from a window and then a dorm room, possibly just like theirs, went up in flames. Feeling the heat and experiencing the smoke did leave an impact.
“I'm an RA in one of the freshman dorms and they teach us about all these fire hazards and everything but once you actually see how fast, like, tapestries go up in flames,” said Resident Assistant Gracie Lewis. “It's crazy. I'm definitely going to be more adamant about enforcing fire safety."
Remember smoke is, many times, more dangerous than fire.
So the classic but important tips”
If there is a fire, get low to the ground. It takes time for smoke to settle.
Look for an exit.
Try to stay calm.