Scholars at Purchase College in New York learned the realities of fire when one ripped through their apartment-style dorms this month. Though nobody was injured, nearly two dozen students lost all of their belongings.
Since the fire, safety advocates and the media have weighed in on the state of safety in on- and off-campus housing. According to an editorial published in the Journal News, college dorms built since the mid 1980s in New York require fire sprinklers, and older residential facilities at colleges require this technology only after major renovations. The 2013 Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act--named in honor of a Marist student who was killed in an off-campus housing fire--lets students and parents know whether or not college-owned and operated housing in New York has fire sprinklers.
While these efforts help, a sprinkler advocate wants to take safety a step further. "Calling for college residences across New York State to be updated with modern fire sprinklers is absolutely the right thing to do, and will dramatically improve fire safety across New York’s many colleges and universities," Jerry DeLuca, member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative and executive director/CEO of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, wrote in a recent letter to the editor. "But sprinkler technology should also be made standard in new residential construction."
The New York Sprinkler Initiative along with other state groups have been urging the state's Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to adopt building codes requiring sprinklers in all new homes. Even though the council decided not to adopt the sprinkler requirement when updating its building code last year, that decision hasn't stopped safety advocates from promoting this technology. "[We urge] the New York State Code Council to...take steps to protect New York residents in their homes. The cost of not acting can be tragic."
Have a child or loved one away at school? Since September is Campus Fire Safety Month, follow these safety tips from NFPA. When considering future housing for them, consider a residence with fire sprinklers.