As an overhead alarm shrieked, a cloud of smoke overwhelmed the hallway and nearly obstructed the view of Zeta Psi Fraternity’s second-story exit.
“I did not know that smoke disorients a person so much. And this was without flames and heat added to the equation,” said Zeta Psi Fraternity member Tom Parrish. “Had I not been familiar with the layout of the house, I really would have struggled to get out.”
Lincoln Fire & Rescue conducted a smoke simulation exercise on September 21 for approximately 100 NWU fraternity and sorority members. Students entered Zeta Psi Fraternity in small groups and were provided with basic instructions on what to do in the event of a fire. Students were encouraged to participate in the exercise and then return to their Greek houses to discuss their own specific fire escape plans.
“Going through a simulation like this makes everyone involved think critically about what they would do if the fire was in their home,” said Jeannine Bryant, Greek life advisor and associate director of student involvement.
Students also learned how to use a fire extinguisher.
“Nothing can completely prepare you for the actual thing,” said Delta Zeta Sorority President Samantha Mertz. “But these simulations and information increase awareness and can only help to make us as prepared as possible.”
Bryant said the exercise was a success and that the university will conduct similar exercises next year with the hope of getting more students who live in residence halls and apartments to participate.