The Center for Campus Fire Safety, the nation’s only non-profit, member-based organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation’s campuses is pleased to extend a lifetime honorary membership to both Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, burn survivors of the tragic Seton Hall fire that took the lives of three students and injured over 56 more students on January 19, 2000. The cause of the fire was later revealed to be a result of arson of two freshman classmates who set a banner on a bulletin board on fire as a drunken prank. Alvaro and Shawn were two of the four most severely burned survivors.
The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) was formulated in Year 2000 as a result of this horrific incident. Guiding following principles were established to accomplish our mission and thirteen (13) years later, we continue to educate and train those responsible for fire safety on and off campus.
- Students need to be more aware of the personal responsibility they have in their own fire safety.
- Parents expect, and deserve, to have the tools to make educated and informed decisions about fire safety when they select institutions of higher education.
- Campus fire and life safety professionals deserve superior services and opportunities from their membership organization.
- Continued encouragement of the higher education community to upgrade their fire safety programs and infrastructure will assist in providing the greatest level of fire safety possible for everyone on-campus.
- Total fire protection relies on a “balanced” approach, employing a multiplicity of engineering solutions and technology options.
The College Tour
Alvaro and Shawn talk more about their ordeal of being college burn survivors nationally at many colleges across the country. “The Center was pleased to have both men as Keynote speakers during our Campus Fire Forum 2012 in San Antonio, and we hope to have them again in 2013 for our Saint Louis Campus Fire Safety Forum” said Janet Maupin, Treasurer of The Center for Campus Fire Safety and Deputy Fire Marshal for the Champaign, Illinois, Fire Department. Janet also mentioned that several of The Center’s Board of Directors plan to have Shawn and Al speak at their universities across the country. Speaking engagements we know of to date include: University of Champaign, Illinois, University of Massachusetts, Newark, Ball State University in Indiana, University of Montevallo in Alabama, George Mason University and Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.– just to name a few! “It’s good to see so many universities and towns helping to spread this message”, said Janet.
Alvaro and Shawn also speak at high schools, as well as fire safety training or firefighting seminars and conferences. Their motive is to be advocates for fire safety and prevention so that no other students will have to endure the pain that they suffered.
During the presentation for The Center in November 2012, they unveiled the newly released film “After The Fire — The Movie.” “This story is of survival, perseverance, inspiration, hope, courage and friendship. Coupled with the personal appearances from Alvaro and Shawn, the audience was left speechless,” said Michael J. Swain, Vice President of The Center and Campus Fire Prevention Officer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. According to Michael,
“This is a truly powerful way for a life safety educator to reach anyone — especially students.” The Center highly recommends Alvaro and Shawn as motivational speakers, and the Movie is a must have for any fire safety educator,” said Swain.
Alvaro and Shawn inspire to motivate students and professionals knowing that life will present many obstacles. It’s how we overcome those obstacles by drawing strength, knowledge and motivation from those around you. These are the tools in life’s endeavors that help to prove there is life “After the Fire.”
Featured (left to right) Alvaro Llanos, Robin Gaby Fisher, author of the book: After The Fire, and Shawn Simons.
Speaking Engagements with Alvaro and Shawn: http://afterthefiresurvivors-com.webs.com/
Purchasing Video for Personal or Public use: http://www.campusfiresafety.org/shoppingcart
(Note special discounts are available for Members of The Center)