During the months of September and October, we’ve been highlighting weekly tips and resources around campus fire safety. As you know, September is Campus Fire Safety Month, according to The Center for Campus Fire Safety, who also state that the months of August and September are typically the worst time of year for fatal campus-related housing fires. But just by reading the papers or watching the evening news, we know that on- and off-campus housing fires are a problem year-round.
According to NFPA, most fires in dormitories happen during the evening hours from 5 pm – 11 pm and on weekends, and most people don’t even realize how quickly a fire can start and spread. Did you know that most students (and including adults) have not received fire safety education since elementary school!? How easy it is to forget what we learned all those years ago. So while we tend to ignore fire safety because we think we know it all or because we’re too busy, it’s imperative that we all take a moment to stop and reflect, and take action to absolutely make sure we’re living in a fire-safe environment.
When a fire occurs, it’s important to have a plan to get yourself, your roommates and friends out of the building as quickly as possible. Do you know your building’s evacuation plan? Have you practiced the plan with your roommates? A few minutes on any given day is all you need. If you’re not sure what the evacuation plan is, ask your landlord or resident assistant (RA) for help.
Smoke from a fire can also block the most widely-used exit out of the building, so always have an alternative route out. In your apartment or dorm room, keep exit doors clear and free from clutter so you can easily leave when an alarm sounds. Once you’re outside, never go back in to retrieve your computer or phone, or any other item you left behind. Smoke and fire spread fast so it’s important to get out quickly and stay out for your own safety and for the safety of firefighters.
Take advantage of NFPA resources to refresh your memory. Our newest infographic is a great way to learn about fire safety along with some very eye-opening statistics that will surely move you to action. The safety tips sheet, too, touches on a number of great steps you can take to ensure a safe living environment. From smoke alarms to evacuation, candles to cooking, the tips sheet puts all of this information in an easy-to-read sheet that you can download and share with friends. As always, you can visit the Safety Source blog for current, informative news and resources and/or subscribe to the Safety Source newsletter where you’ll get monthly highlights of news you can use.
Lastly, our friends at The Center for Campus Fire Safety have a great website with resources, training, activities and more for both fire professionals and students. Check it out today! In the end, whatever route you take, you’ll feel better knowing that you've planned ahead to make your place of residence as fire safe as possible, and that can make all the difference.