September’s college Campus Fire Safety Month is winding down and the headlines are fading from view, but that doesn’t mean you should put campus fire safety out of your mind until next September.
Since 2000, 168 people have died in fires on college campuses, in Greek housing, or in off-campus housing within three miles of the campus. The good news – if there is such a thing as good news – is that 2013-2014 academic years was the lowest year on record for fatal campus-related fires.
However, students don’t often realize how quickly fires can occur – most of them probably haven’t had fire safety education since they were in grade school.
In the past, we’ve told you about fire safety in off-campus housing, now we’d like to give you some tips to keep you safe in your on-campus housing.
Cooking is the cause of 83 percent of university housing fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
The USFA’s recommendations include:
- Cooking only where it is allowed in your residence hall.
- Never start cooking and walk away.
- If there’s a fire in the microwave, unplug it but don’t open the door.
- Don’t drink and cook – it’s a dangerous as drinking and driving.
The most common killer in fires is smoke, according to Campus Firewatch.
The organization recommends:
- Knowing two ways out, no matter where you are wherever you are. Feel the door before opening it – if it’s hot, use the second way out.
- Crawl under the smoke to escape.
- Never use an elevator during a fire – take the stairs, instead.
- Ensuring your dormitory room, halls and common areas have smoke alarms. You should ask your residence hall officials if all the smoke alarms are interconnected so that when one goes off, they all go off. If a smoke alarm sounds, treat it as there real deal – and get out fast.
The National Fire Protection Agency’s recommendations include:
- Ensure there are sprinklers in your dorm room and the rest of the building.
- Study your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if you’re life depended on it.
- Check with your school’s officials before you use electrical appliances in your room.
- Use a surge protector for your computer and plug it directly into outlet
Understanding the risks and taking the proper preventative measures, could save your life.
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