Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

November 2014

OSU-OKC Launches Fire Prevention Initiative Through FEMA Grant

An Oklahoman’s risk or likelihood of dying in a fire is twice the national average shown in a recent report by FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Additionally, Oklahoma has the fifth-highest fire death rates in the country. Research shows that fires are more dominant among lower-income populations who have less access to resources such as smoke alarms and fire safety education. Recognizing how often this vulnerable population is overlooked, OSU-
Oklahoma City will launch its Fight Against Fire initiative thanks to a $65,000 FEMA grant.

OSU-OKC’s overarching goal for the grant is to launch the first initiative designed to reduce kitchen fire rates among vulnerable residential populations in neighborhoods surrounding the university. As a community-based university, OSU-OKC feels a sense of obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of local citizens. Specifically, OSU-OKC is concerned about the local risk of kitchen fires, which are the most prevalent type of fires in residences.

The fire prevention and safety project will be accomplished through conducting a community smoke alarm campaign that will outfit hundreds of local residences with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers specifically designed for kitchens. During this campaign, OSU-OKC will also host community fire prevention and safety educational events in areas that target high risk, low-income populations.

Students enrolled in OSU-OKC’s municipal fire protection and emergency medical services (EMS) associate degree programs will be heavily involved in this project as they prepare for their careers as firefighters or paramedics. Under faculty supervision, students will prepare a series of community
education events that focus on reducing kitchen fires. Student translators will accommodate Spanish-speaking and hearing-impaired audiences.

OSU-OKC’s department head of emergency responder administration, Lynn Wojcik, said OSU-OKC intends to expand this initiative after serving those located in the areas around campus.

“This region is just one of our areas of concern within the greater Oklahoma City area and neighboring communities,” Wojcik said. “The success of this initiative will potentially drive further outreach efforts. The long-term goal is to improve Oklahoma’s high risk rating regarding fire deaths and relative risk. OSU-OKC has targeted the known leading cause of fire-related injuries and fatalities to deliver the greatest impact.”

OSU-OKC’s commitment to collaborative partnerships with local schools and other agencies will help support this initiative long term. Building the foundation of the collaborative partnerships and demonstrating a positive outreach campaign will drive this initiative to become a sustainable community
project.

For more information on OSU-OKC’s Fight Against Fire initiative, call 405-945-3417, email fightagainstfire@osuokc.edu or visit osuokc.edu/fightagainstfire.

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