In conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, Millikin University, along with Greek Houses Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Pi Beta Phi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon were each presented with a Life Safety Award on behalf of the Illinois Firefighters Association during their recent Homecoming Weekend celebration.
State law required all college dormitories to be retrofitted with automatic suppression systems by Sept. 2014 and Greek Houses to be retrofitted by Jan. 2019. However all of Millikin's on-campus housing has been retrofitted since 2000 and the Greek Houses that were honored were all retrofitted years ahead of schedule.
"The installation of sprinklers on this campus was not to meet a state deadline, they were installed years ahead of time because Millikin and their Greek Houses have made the safety of their students a top priority," said Margaret Foran Vaughn '90, Government Relations director for the Illinois Firefighters Association. Margaret is also a 1990 Millikin graduate and a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. She spearheaded the efforts in Springfield, Ill. on behalf of the fire service that resulted in the passage of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act in 2004 and the Greek Housing Fire Safety Act in 2010.
Officials from the Decatur Fire Department were also on hand, along with former Decatur Fire Chief and Deputy Director for the Office of the State Fire Marshal Les Albert.
"We would like to thank Millikin and their Greek Houses for being at the forefront in fire safety in protecting their students. Most people don't understand that residential fires burn much quicker and are more toxic because the appliances and contents are made of synthetic material, which are derived from petroleum, compared to the belongings you would find in a home a generation ago, which would consist of more natural based products, which burn slower. It used to be that the fire department would have time to get to a fire before flashover occurs. Now it is occurring in as little as three minutes before the fire department even has a chance to get their gear on and pull out of the station," said Albert. "Sprinklers are needed now more than ever to save lives, including those of our firemen."