State Fire Marshal brings technology to MSU to teach fire safety

Tahj Gross practices his fire safety skills by putting out a fire simulation with the laser-guided fire extinguisher in the Fire Safety Simulator House Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Faith Lifer, SDN)

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

If a fire started in your kitchen, would you be prepared to properly handle the situation?

For Campus Fire Safety Month, the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office came to the Mississippi State University campus to teach students fire safety tips Tuesday afternoon.

The event was sponsored by MSU’s Division of Student Affairs.

“We’re just here teaching fire safety prevention,” Mississippi Fire Marshall Fire Safety Educator Zach Purvis said.

As opposed to a lecture, though, the Fire Marshal’s Office offered an interactive learning experience.

“We brought our Fire Safety Simulator House out,” Purvis said.

The simulator house has a kitchen set and a number of features to simulate the experience of a fire.

For example, heat lamps are built into the house so the house grows warmer the longer the fire is left unhanded.

To properly handle the simulated fire, the house comes with a laser-guided fire extinguisher.

“We have a laser-guided fire extinguisher where you can actually pull the pin and put the fire out,” Purvis explained.

But before Purvis let students test their kitchen safety skills, he taught them what to do in case of a kitchen fire.

The lesson focused on the steps to take if a fire starts in the oven, in the microwave or in the kitchen in general and how to use a fire extinguisher.

“If there’s a fire in the oven, leave the door closed and turn the oven off,” Purvis said. “That way, with the door closed, it suffocates the fire and takes away the oxygen.”

Similar steps should be taken for a fire in the microwave.

“The same way with your microwave,” Purvis said. “If the microwave catches on fire, leave the door closed and unplug it.”

Purvis said a fire needs three things to flourish: heat, fuel and oxygen.

“If you take one of those away, it kills the fire,” Purvis explained.

However, if a fire happens within the open kitchen, a fire extinguisher should be used.

Purvis taught the helpful acronym for fire extinguisher use: P.A.S.S.

• Pull the pin
• Aim the nozzle
• Squeeze the handle
• Sweep the base of the fire

“If it gets up on the stove,” Purvis said of the fire. “Cut the eye off and use a fire extinguisher to put out the eye fire.”

“And if it builds up to the cabinet,” Purvis added. “You would use the fire extinguisher to put the cabinet out.”

Purvis said the Fire Marshal is there, first and foremost, for the protection of the students.

“We’re here to kind of boost the students’ confidence with fire safety and to (teach) what a fire hazard is,” Purvis said. “That way when they are at the dorm cooking or in the house, they know what to do.”

Although the Fire Marshal was there for the students, fire safety skills are important for all ages.

For more information and to test your knowledge on kitchen fire safety, go to