News & Events

Month List

What makes The University of Mary Washington’s Campus Center Atrium Smoke Control System noteworthy is that the Fire Alarm/Atrium Smoke Control System was demonstrated to ‘Operate As Intended’ on Virginia's Bureau of Capital Outlay Management's (BCOM’s) initial visit to observe the system. This is a first in BCOM observation history! It took a well-coordinated and concerted effort by UMW, Donley’s, StantecColonial WebbConvergint TechnologiesM.C.Dean, and Bala Consulting Engineers to reach this achievement.


A technically sophisticated system, the Atrium Smoke Control System is integrated with the Campus Center’s architectural, fire protection system, and mechanical system components.  Due to the complexity in integrating these numerous components together, multiple tests and adjustments are typically required in order to demonstrate that the Fire Alarm System/Atrium Smoke Control System “Operates As Intended.”  In addition, there is a specific order, known as Sequence of Operations, that must occur for the system to be considered “Operational as Intended.”

The new University of Mary Washington’s Campus Center is being touted as the “living room” of the campus. Located along College Avenue on the Fredericksburg main campus, the building features a three-story atrium with a sculptural monumental three-story stair, a working fireplace, a ball room, dining center, student organization offices, and plenty of meeting spaces for students to gather and relax. 
Setting a good example is not a put-on. It's simply working safety into your daily routine at home and on the job. When we all work safely, everyone's job is safe and their future more secure.


New employees certainly benefit by seeing operations conducted the safe way. As you all know from experience, people new on the job take a while to adjust and to discover who they are in the overall set-up of the plant. New employees who have never held a job before or were employed by a firm that had a weak safety program probably will need considerable safety instruction. We will attempt to give it to them, but naturally, they also observe and seek advice and information from fellow workers. These early impressions of you and of safety operations will be at least partially formed through these contacts and observations.

On the other hand, newcomers formerly employed by a firm that emphasized safety will probably think more of you personally if you measure up to the caliber of people they are accustomed to working with.

"Don't do as I do; do as I say" is a pretty tired expression, and it got tired because we all have repeated it many times not just verbally but through our actions; and actions speak louder than words. When we leave our safety glasses resting on our foreheads rather than in place over our eyes, or when we kick an empty milk carton under a bench rather than pick it up, we're selling safety but it's a useless soft sell. Our actions are saying, "I believe in wearing eye protection but not in protecting my eyes; and I know trash can cause a tripping accident, but it isn't important enough to make me pick it up." 

There's another angle to setting good examples. Too often people dress to impress others with their good taste rather than their knowledge of safety. Wearing rings, bracelets, and other ornaments is dangerous around machinery and in many other jobs where it's possible for jewelry to be caught by moving parts of machinery, thus cause injury to the wearer. Long sleeves, floppy pant legs, and long hair can be hazardous on some jobs, too.

So we should always dress for the job. Our image as a fashion expert may suffer, but it will give way to the more important and more beneficial image of safety.

Maybe some of us feel we are already setting good examples for safety, but maybe this self-image isn't too accurate. Think just for a moment isn’t it strange that we always think about having the nice things happen to us and when we think about an accident, it's usually happening to someone else?

Accidents are a reality. Make your personal safety just as real and you'll have a good chance of not becoming the other person to whom accidents are always happening.

We also might remember that our children someday will be entering the work force. And they, like the newcomer on the job, can benefit by our actions that exemplify safety consciousness.

Most of us try to demonstrate to our kids how to cross streets or how to light matches when they're of age. If, through the years, your kids learn from you how to use a ladder correctly, or that it's good practice to keep tools in their proper places or that there's a right way to lift things, you've given them an additional opportunity for the better life the future promises.
Over the past few weeks we have been discussing some of the chemistry of hazardous materials; today I am going to expand our science curriculum into combustion.  Any program on fire prevention and safety is based on a clear understanding of how materials ignite. In order for a fire to occur, three elements are required; Oxygen, Heat, and Fuel. These elements are frequently shown as the "fire triangle."



The elements of combustion are very similar to the construction of a triangle in that all sides must come together before a fire can occur. Therefore, the goal of a fire safety program is to keep these elements apart. Since oxygen is present in nearly all industrial work situations we must separate or control the heat and fuel sources to reduce the chances of fire.

Take a look around your work areas today--and everyday--where both heat and fuel sources may be found. And remember housekeeping is important. Keep your work areas clean and organized. It is also important to know your evacuation route in case of a fire, as well as the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.