Surrounded by college safety, fire and building officials, and fire safety advocates, Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennet launched Campus Fire Safety Month (September) at The College of the Holy Cross by reminding college students and their parents to make fire safety a priority in off-campus housing.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, while colleges work to make sure dormitories have fire alarm systems and fire sprinklers where required, officials are most concerned about the safety of off-campus housing. Since 2006, 100 percent of all campus-related fire deaths have occurred in off-campus housing. Five college students aged 19-22 have died in Massachusetts off-campus housing fires in the past decade. The lack of working smoke alarms or a second exit was a factor in these deaths.
To this end, Public Safety Secretary Bennet announced the start of Best Roommates Evah!, a Massachusetts public awareness campaign that focuses on two aspects of fire safety in off-campus housing: the importance of having working smoke alarms and having two ways out of the home. This is the second year of the campaign, which provides posters, talking points, a customizable local press release, logo, and links to college fire safety resources for students, parents, colleges and resident assistants to share. Electronic bulletin boards and highway flash signs will also be evident across Massachusetts roadways to remind students and parents as they head to college this fall.
As part of the campaign, a local PSA was developed that features Boston firefighters who responded to a fatal off-campus fire (see PSA below):
As Best Roommates Evah! kicks off this month and students begin moving into college housing, public safety officials want to make one thing clear: no matter what college or university a student attends here in the Commonwealth, parents and young adults are encouraged to contact local housing, building or fire authorities for an inspection if they have any concerns about the safety of an apartment or house they have rented.
Learn more about this campaign and find information and resources you can share with students and others interested in college fire safety by visiting www.BestRoommatesEvah.org.