Biggest campus fire hazard? Unsupervised microwaves

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | February 10, 2012

Quick, what's one of the most important fire-safety tips at UNMC?

"Do NOT trust the 'popcorn' setting," said campus security corporal Joel Schuldt.

picture disc.
Man the microwave to help keep down the incidence of campus fires.
Campus security -- and often the Omaha Fire Department -- respond to about one or two fire alarms a week, Schuldt said.

A large percentage of fire calls in employee areas on campus are traced straight to campus microwaves, Schuldt said.

Supervise those microwaves

The prominence of microwave-related campus fires led Schuldt to give out a bit of cooking advice.

"If you're cooking something in the microwave," he said, "don't walk away."

This could be awkward

You may have a surprise waiting for you when you get back -- firefighters and security officers.

When a fire alarm sounds at UNMC, it's standard procedure for OFD to respond with a truck, Schuldt said.

But, Schuldt said, firefighters may start to roll their eyes when a call comes in from UNMC.

Rock smashes scissors but fire burns paper

Schuldt imagines "rock, paper, scissors" paper games among local firefighters to see who has to throw on the equipment and race off to UNMC.

Don't misunderstand. Safety officers are eager to investigate any and every alarm. They'd rather it be nothing than miss a real threat.

If it's a curious kid who causes a false alarm, firefighters will gently get down to the child's level to talk about it, Schuldt said. Maybe even take the kid out to see the truck. But when it's yet another adult who can't cook popcorn?

For best results ...

Do not be on the other end of that withering stare. Remember this important, really scientific safety tip:

"If smoke starts coming up from it," Schuldt said, "it's done."


Fill out the following and your comment will post once it has been approved.

Name (Required)

Email (Required)

Thank you, your comment will appear below once it has been approved.