Active shooter events in general have become more frequent and more deadly in recent years, prompting campus safety officials to further evaluate their preparedness for such events and conceive new solutions. My colleague, Jesse Roman, explores this topic in the new cover story for NFPA Journal, "The New Normal," which came out last week and coincides with National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
But shootings aren't the only threat facing campuses. As students flocked to campuses in the past few weeks, two incidents proved fire remains a threat, even in on-campus housing. At the University of North Carolina's Asheville campus, students were barred from moving into five newly built dorms after officials discovered unsafe conditions including wood inside stairwells and elevator shafts and water pipes that hindered egress paths. A couple of weeks later, after students had moved onto Boston University's campus, a fire sparked by a candle forced the evacuation of about 40 students from a dorm.
A sidebar I wrote for "The New Normal," titled "Old Foe," discusses the threat of fire on college campuses. On average, over 4,000 fires occur on campuses in the United States each year, according to NFPA data that's cited in the piece. Since 2000, 92 of these blazes have been fatal, the vast majority of which have occurred in off-campus housing and Greek housing like frat houses.