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Fire Safety is Hot Topic

The Kerry Rose Foundation presented Stony Brook University with a $10,000 grant to create fire safety programs for students living in off-campus housing.
Picture left to right are:
Bottom Row: Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Kerry Rose Foundation Board Of Directors Member and FDNY Chief of Special Operations Bob Seelig, Kerry Rose Foundation Founder Robert Fitzsimons, Stony Brook University Associate Dean and Director of Student Life Sue DiMonda, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, Stony Brook University Assistant Director of Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living Emily Resnick, Stony Brook University Director of Environmental Health & Safety Gary Kaczmarczyk, and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.
Middle Row: Kerry Rose Foundation President and Co-Founder Maryanne Fitzsimons, Stony Brook University Director of Community Relations Joan Dickinson, Suffolk County Fire Commissioner Joseph Williams, National Fire Sprinkler Association New York Regional Manager Dominick Kasmauskas.
Top Row: Stony Brook University Manager for Fire Safety John Gallo, Stony Brook University Fire Marshal Scott Gershowitz, Stony Brook Medicine Director of Development Jennifer Fleming.

Stony Brook University’s commitment to safety was recognized with a check for $10,000 on April 6, 2015 from Kerry Rose Foundation founders Bob and Maryanne Fitzsimons. The Kerry Rose Foundation has partnered with the University to increase awareness of fire safety for students living in the community. The grant will be used to fund fire safety education programs and events starting in the spring 2015 semester.

The Kerry Rose Foundation was formed in memory of their daughter, Marist student Kerry (Rose) Fitzsimons and her two college friends, who died in 2012 in an off-campus house fire. There were no working fire safety devices present at the time of the fire.

Fire safety was top of mind for many students after participating in the first event of the new partnership, a workshop entitled “Too Hot To Handle,” held after the check presentation in the Student Activities Center. Hosted by the Office of Commuter Student Services and Off Campus Living, the workshop featured Stony Brook University Fire Marshall Scott Gershowitz, who combined compelling videos, current news stories and fire safety facts to get his messages across.

“Many home fires occur between 11:00 pm and  7:00 am when most people are asleep,” Gershowitz said. “Smoke will put you into a deeper sleep,” making poisonous smoke inhalation a leading cause of death in a fire.

Stony Brook University Fire Marshal Scott Gershowitz emphasized that a working smoke detector can save lives.

“One important takeaway from the fire safety workshop was to make sure you have an exit plan for the house you’re renting and practice the exit drills,” said Emily Resnick, Assistant Director for Commuter Student Services and Off Campus Living. Students living off campus were advised to test the windows in their rental houses to ensure that they can be opened, and to check for working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

As an added incentive, a contest was announced inviting students to submit a video of themselves installing and checking their smoke detectors. The videos should be posted on Instagram or Twitter using the tag @sbucommuters with #firesafety. Five winners will each receive a $100 gift card. Deadline for entry is May 1, 2015.

– Joan Dickinson

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