September means new classes, new friends, and often new living spaces; NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are partnering up to help ensure those living spaces are as safe as possible through their Campus Fire Safety for Students campaign.
The campaign raises awareness about the threat of fire among college students in both on- and off-campus housing, and puts relevant information in the hands of parents, staff, and students, who are encouraged to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their peers against fire. Many of the resources offered are designed to be shared through social media, school newspapers, college websites, and posted in dormitory common areas. These resources include videos, checklists, infographics, tip sheets, and more.
According to NFPA, from 2013-2016, local fire departments responded to an average of 4,070 structure fires in dormitory, fraternity, sorority, and barracks properties, causing an average of one civilian death, 32 civilian injuries, and $15 million in direct property damage each year. Approximately three out of every four of these fires began in a kitchen or cooking area. Such fires are responsible for nearly half of the injuries in these properties. In addition, the likelihood of a fire is much greater on weekends and on weekdays from 5 – 9 p.m., and September and October have the highest incidences for fires in dormitories.
NFPA and the Center offer these tips to students to help reduce the risk of fire:
.Know and practice your buildings evacuation plan, as well as alternate routes.
.Cook in intended areas only, and never leave cooking equipment unattended when in use, even briefly.
.Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or a house. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. NEVER remove or disable smoke alarms.
.Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable light and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps.
.Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris.
“Campus Fire Safety Month provides a great opportunity to share materials and action steps, and foster a culture of awareness and preparedness about fire safety on our college campuses,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA.
“The more prepared students are, the more we can reduce fire risk. As students settle into campus housing this fall, we encourage them to review fire safety tips to learn how to prevent fires, check smoke alarms, and prepare escape plans, and to share this important information with their friends and peers.”
Learn more about campaign and find additional resources at www.nfpa.org/campus or on The Center’s website.