It’s a calm day today on this college campus. But when fire strikes, calm can quickly turn to chaos.
Most dorms are equipped with commercial grade fire systems that are interconnected and monitored regularly to keep students as safe as possible. But, it’s a completely different story for students living off-campus.
According to the Center for Campus Fire Safety, almost 80-percent of fire-related fatalities in student housing occur off-campus. These fires are typically caused by a lack of automatic fire sprinklers, missing or disabled smoke alarms, and careless disposal of smoking materials.
Here are some simple steps to ensure your off-campus housing is a fire-safe environment.
- Check for smoke alarms in each bedroom. Make sure all alarms are working and have back-up power sources. Add alarms if needed.
- Identify two ways to exit the building. Exit doors should have a single cylinder deadbolt lock for fast escape.
- Make sure windows open easily. And know how to unlock them quickly.
- Ask when the heating system was last inspected and when the last Fire Marshal inspection occurred- both should within the past year.
- Sprinkler systems are preferred, but just in case you don’t have one, be prepared with fire extinguishers. Always keep one in the kitchen, where 41-percent of fires start.
- If a fire does occur, whether it’s on or off-campus, be sure to pull the fire alarm and get out immediately, staying low to the ground.
- If behind a closed door, always carefully feel it for heat before opening. Never open if the door is hot. If there is no other exit, phone for help and wait for firefighters.
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