Firefighters Get UMD Students Drunk in the Name of Fire Safety

In hopes of getting important data and raising awareness, students at the University of Maryland spent a recent weekend drinking beer and then weaving around a dorm room. Researchers are hoping their efforts last Sunday will help save the lives of college students in the future.

“The purpose is to gather data that illustrates the relationship between alcohol consumption and students’ ability to get out of a simulated fire,” explained Andrew K. Pantelis, Vice President of Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association to Campus Firewatch.

From the story:

Study participants, aged 21 to 26, were asked to make their way through a darkened mock dorm room filled with a non-toxic fog to stimulate smoke. As the day progressed, students consumed controlled amounts of alcohol and were asked to go through the mock room over and over again.

Students performed each cycle with blood alcohol contents of .03, .06, .09 and .12. All participants were equip with safety equipment like helmets and knee pads, each participant had at least one safety officer assigned to them.

A member of the University of Maryland Police Department was on hand to measure blood alcohol content. Members of Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department evaluated the students after each cycle.

Pantelis said he hopes to take what he learns from the study, the first of its kind, and use it to teach incoming college kids about the dangers of drinking, specifically in the event of a fire.


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