Top 10 Off-Campus Fire Safety Tips
As college students settle into their dorms and apartments, parents as well as students should assess the level of fire safety, particularly in off-campus housing.
On Campus vs. Off Campus
Why focus on off-campus housing?
Since 2000, 85% of college-related fire fatalities have happened in off-campus housing, where most students live, according to Campus Firewatch.
Listen to American Alarm’s President Wells Sampson describe, first hand, the lack of fire safety at his daughter Anne’s off-campus housing at Tufts University.
How Do Most Campus Fires Start?
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 4,100 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other related properties, according to the recent NFPA report, “Structure Fires in Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities and Barracks.” The report found that about 72% of fires began in kitchens or cooking areas.
So here’s our top 10 tips to remember when living it up off-campus this year.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Take the “What kind of cook are you?” fire safety quiz.
- Use flameless candles for decor.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power strips. Older houses may not have modernized electrical systems.
- Check for smoke alarms in each bedroom. Make sure all alarms are working and have backup power sources. Add alarms if needed.
- Identify two ways to exit the building. Each exit door 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 have been done within the past year.
- Sprinkler systems are preferred. However, in case you don’t have one, be prepared with fire extinguishers. Always keep one in the kitchen, where 72% of fires start.
- If a fire does occur, whether it’s in a dormitory or off-campus housing, be sure to pull the fire alarm and get out immediately. Stay low to the ground as you exit.
- If you’re behind a closed door, carefully feel it before you open it. Never open a door if it’s hot. If there is no other exit, phone for help and wait for firefighters.
Fire Safety Checklist
Finally, refer to this fire safety checklist that provides links to additional resources. We hope you enjoy your 2017-2018 college experience. However, be sure to first verify that you’re living in a safe environment.
- Watch Wells Sampson’s complete video on off-campus fire safety.
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