The Michigan Wednesday, December 6, 2006
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3B JUNK DRAWER
A look at all of the things you
should and shouldn't be talk-
ing about on campus this
4B READY FOR ANYTHING?
After past potential danger at the
University, it has taken extensive
measures to protect the campus
and its students.
6B ARCHITECTURE COLUMN
Austin Dingwall discusses the
importance and fun of the nick-
names given to local and inter-
COURTESY OF THE BENTLEY HISTORICAL LIBRARY
Students float on the Diag near West Hall after rain run-off created a temporary standing lake on campus in 1910.
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From page 5B
than 10,000 people at the University - a quar-
ter of the student population. This could pose
dozens of new problems to hospital manage-
ment, most of all staffing and capacity.
"Our occupancy approaches 100 percent
each day," Forster said.
Should an epidemic break out, the hospital
would likely not have enough beds. To cope,
University officials have looked into using
Palmer Commons and the Central Campus
Recreation Building as field hospitals.
The hospital itself is built like a fortress.
The building's physical defense structure
is almost like a living organism, ready at any
time to defend itself robotically against a fire,
chemical spill or another emergency.
When a sensitive monitoring system detects
a fire, flame-retardant doors automatically
swing shut and ventilation systems re-direct
the flow of air, preventing spread of smoke and
starving the flames of fresh oxygen.
One of the building's more serious foes was
a stubborn patient receiving oxygen back in
2000. Hospital staff had confiscated cigarettes
and matches from the man several times, but
his wife continued to sneak packs past nurs-
es' watchful eyes. While alone with his con-
traband, he lit a cigarette in bed, sparking a
The fire was large enough to provoke the
building's defense system. Sprinklers set off in
the room, spewing 30 gallons of water per min-
ute into the room and down the hallway.
The man eventually died, though it's unclear
whether the fire directly caused his death, said
Bruce cadwallender, the hospital's director of
safety and emergency management. "It cer-
tainly didn't help his situation," he added.
What could really hurt you
Compared to other emergencies, house fires
aren't very glamorous. They are small, con-
tained and short. But they are incredibly fre-
quent, and thus the most dangerous.
Seniors will remember at least three serious
fires during their time on campus. The Nation-
al Fire Protection Association tallied more
than 3,000 deaths and 15,000 injuries from
structural fires in 2005. It's a killer that could
strike at any minute in any place.
In the student ghetto, it's even worse. Thou-
sands of people cram into a small geographi-
cal area. Many off-campus houses are decades
old, with ancient circuitry. That, coupled with
a few cases of student carelessness, creates a
high risk of devastating fires.
"There are many challenges with the whole
fire safety issue and those I think warrant a lot
of ink," Brown said. "It could happen tonight.
It's not that unlikely."
Off-campus housing fires have a destructive
and deadly history in Ann Arbor.
In 1950, a massive fire destroyed most of
Haven Hall. Students tried to save some of
the 20,000 valuable records from the Bureau
of Government library as firefighters tried to
douse the flames. They were largelyusuccess-
ful. The fire consumed more than $3 million
worth of damage. At the time, it was the single
most costly disaster ever to strike campus.
Four years later, on the freezing cold night of
Oct. 28, 1954, a boarding house at 508 Monroe
St. caught fire. Flames shot 20 feet into the air,
drawing a crowd of spectators and volunteers.
All but two of the 14 residents escaped,
many via a ladder placed under a second-story
window by a group of men from South Quad-
rangle. Rackham student Elizabeth Vandegrift
perished in the blaze along with her landlady
Florence Hendriksen. Police believed Vandeg-
rift died in attempt to save Hendriksen.
Today, the chance of fire in campus build-
ings remains high. Departments with hazard-
ous or flammable materials closely monitor
their storage and use, and safety regulations
evolve annually as federal standards increase.
Flnic annn ra ~- ~ r oft - a n t-
controlled by a series of dams regulating water
The University's situation on high ground
largely protects it from any river flooding,
but up until a few years ago campus still had
major problems controlling intense rain run-
off. In more extreme instances long ago, the
Diag area flooded with enough water to create
a standing lake. In 1910, three fun-loving stu-
dents took advantage of the temporary pond,
floating "The Lover," their small boat, in front
of West Hall.
Since then, the University has installed
a complicated set of waterways to help Ann
Arbor city's water system handle massive
Deep beneath the labs of the Life Sciences
Institute is a 1.8-million gallon retention tank.
On days of heavy rain, all the runoff from the
core 40 acres of campus is funneled to this
tank, where it sits until torrents in Ann Arbor
city's drains recede. A similar system on North
Campus uses series of water detention cells to
release excess rainfall slowly into a natural
wetland near the Art and Architecture Build-
As in 1988, tornados pose a threat as well.
Tornados only strike Ann Arbor once every
few decades - usually in April, June or July
- but they can happen any time of the year if
the conditions are right.
"Without any warning, Michigan always
has the potential to be hit," said Samson, who
Cold War Propaganda is often looked at for humourous purposes, but also helped to inspire some of the first
disaster management plans.