After hosting a mock burn demonstration with the St. Paul Fire Department October 4, the Michael Larson Memorial Fund is already looking to plan its next event.
Josh Hengemuhle, Off-Campus Student Services area manager, said the fund hopes to have an event around Nov. 6, the return to standard time.
“We want to create something we did last spring, where at daylight saving time we handed out 9-volt batteries to folks primarily living off campus who need to replace the batteries in their smoke detectors,” Hengemuhle said. “We’ll do that again here next month.”
Michael Larson died Dec. 11, 2010 in a house fire. The fund was formed from money donated by Larson’s parents. Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Mike Orth said Larson’s family had a specific vision for how the money should be used.
“Michael Larson’s father directed us to do two things: do fire safety programming and also promote smoking cessation,” Orth said.
Neither Orth nor Hengemule knew exactly how much money the fund has spent, but Orth said it has not been much.
“We haven’t spent a lot. I know that all of the events that we’ve done so far haven’t cost very much money,” he said. “One thing that does take more funding is what the Wellness Center is working on in conjunction with the fund, and that’s handing out free quit kits. So (it’s) helping students with smoking cessation, and mostly it’s just buying patches for students to use.”
Hengemuhle said educating students on fire safety through the Michael Larson Memorial Fund will help prevent tragedies due to fires.
“I think a fire like that is something we all assume will never happen to us. And it’s easy to get complacent and say, ‘Oh, I have a smoke detector. I know how to stop, drop and roll, I’ll be fine,’” Hengemuhle said. “So if we keep up awareness moving forward, the better we can better prevent things.”
Check the site later for a new studio segment called In Depth that will feature Mike Orth and St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard discussing fire safety .
Cynthia Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.