Fire Safety Training at St. Mary’s College of Maryland
By Vice President / Lieutenant Patrick (Scot) Best
August 21, 2023

Ridge VFD educators were asked by St. Mary’s College of Maryland to teach their new group of Resident Assistants (RAs) about fire safety and fire extinguisher use. The class was held on Thursday evening, August 17th.

A presentation on campus fire safety was held. In this, the students were taught:
• School/dorm emergency procedures and evacuation routes
• Do not delay calling 911
• Always sound the alarm regardless of fire size
• When to attempt extinguishment
• Ensure area is evacuated

The RAs were reminded to NEVER ignore a fire alarm. Topics stressed included:
• Leave the building immediately. Be sure to close doors/windows behind you (prevents the spread of fire and hot gasses throughout the building.)
• Use protected stairways to exit the building. Do not use the elevator.
• Once outside, move to a predetermined area away from the affected building. Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency responders.
• Do not reenter the building until directed to do so by an authorized official.

The objectives of our hands-on fire extinguisher training were to:
• Describe the various classes of fires and determine the appropriate portable fire extinguisher to extinguish each.
• Ensure knowledge of extinguisher locations in dorms.
• Describe and demonstrate use of the P.A.S.S. method in employing a fire extinguisher.
• Discuss firefighting decision criteria.

For proper extinguisher use, the students were taught to remember the word P.A.S.S.:
P = Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher handle. This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
A = Aim the nozzle/horn of the extinguisher at the base/bottom of the fire. Hit the fuel. If you aim at the flames the extinguishing agent will fly right through without stopping the fire.
S = Squeeze the handles together to make the extinguisher work. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.
S = Sweep the extinguisher from side to side as if using a broom. Start using the fire extinguisher from a safe distance (6-8 feet) then slowly move forward if possible. Once the fire is out, keep an eye on the area in case it reignites.

Ridge VFD encourages citizens to contact us, or their local fire department, if they would like fire extinguisher training or have any questions.