The University of Delaware brought together its police department, environmental health and safety personnel, and local company Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder to conduct emergency drills before students moved into residence halls.
Photos by Christopher Ginn
September 23, 2022
Emergency personnel provide Resident Assistants, other UD housing staff with guidance and protocols for dealing with potential danger
The University of Delaware held its 14th annual Safety Training Night to help 200 residence life and housing staff – particularly resident assistants who live with students – prepare to respond in the event of an emergency. ’emergency.
The August 23 training session brought together and was led by the UD Police Department, UD Department of Environmental Health and Safety, and staff from Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder.
“For most students entering campus this fall, it will be their first time away from home and alone,” said Kyle Kokoszka, EHS fire and safety specialist. “Students living in our residences are highly dependent on the support of their RAs [resident assistants]. It is essential that we prepare our ARs for any emergency they may encounter.
Resident assistants are senior students who live with other students in residence halls and learning how to respond in an emergency is part of their training to keep students safe.
The training night was divided into four modules, including a fire response scenario with a simulated fire at Gilbert Hall and simulated smoke on the roof.
“A fire or other evacuation emergency at a residence involves hundreds of resident students,” said UD Fire Marshal Kevin McSweeney. Having trained personnel to help organize an orderly evacuation to a location 200 feet away is imperative; keeping residents away from the building is the goal. »
Additional modules included fire extinguisher training – which taught ARs how to use the PASS (shoot, aim, squeeze and sweep) method with water extinguishers to put out propane-fueled fires – and culinary safety, where ARs learned how to put out a stove fire with a pot or pan lid.
The safety program included a discussion on the use of a water extinguisher to put out a propane fire.
“Our training modules are intended to be hands-on team-building opportunities,” McSweeney said. “We are trying to get the RAs to mingle with UDPD, EHS and Aetna to meet and familiarize with the speakers in a non-emergency session.”
Bill Wentz, a UDPD sergeant, led the final module on campus safety topics, including a demonstration of explosive dogs. He also answered questions from Residence Life and Housing staff.
“Many students have wondered how our police department is handling the increasing mental health crisis incident calls among the student population,” Wentz said. “ROs were surprised to learn that the police department trains for these types of calls for service and has 10 trained crisis-dealing officers among our squads and special units.”
UD’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety provided Resident Assistants with information to help them avoid and prepare for emergencies.
Wentz said having emergency personnel interact with ARs fosters meaningful connections.
“UDPD is very passionate about building relationships with our Residence Life staff,” he said. “It is imperative that our ROs feel comfortable talking to our officers during incidents throughout the year. They are essential to help us in our mission and are our extra eyes and ears among the student population.
In addition to increased fire safety awareness and emergency evacuation information, Safety Training Night partners urged students to download the Live Safe app and call UDPD for a safety escort if necessary.
“Campus safety is of the utmost importance to everyone here at the University,” Kokoszka said. “We certainly want our students, staff, faculty and visitors to be the gateway for others in the community to continue spreading safety messages and to be at the forefront of helping others to stay safe.”