According to NFPA, portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives, but NFPA also reminds people that portable extinguishers have their limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, we recommend you don't spend time deciding whether you should put the fire out yourself. Leave the firefighting up to the professionals and get out of the building as quickly as possible, and stay out. Consider this:
* Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and most importantly, it is not growing. In the same vein, call the fire department immediately and alert your roomates and neighors; help make sure everyone exits quickly.
* Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Having a fire extinguisher handy helps us feel safer, but at the same time, our concentration should be focused on already having an escape plan and working smoke alarms in place.
If you don't have an alarm or a plan, now's the time to put one together and contact your landlord or RA (resident assistant) for help. Not sure where to start? NFPA has some great information about the best way to create a plan, and how to practice it, so make it a point to check out our Smoke Alarm Central webpage.
Need more info about campus fire safety? NFPA's got that covered, too. Our campus fire safety webpage includes an infographic, tips sheet and more that will surely move you to action. Our friends at the The Center for Campus Fire Safety are also involved in some amazing projects and activities to help keep students, staff and faculty safe. The Center is a non-profit, membership-based organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation's campuses, and is the voice of over 4,000 campuses across the country. Check out their website today!
I know, I know, it's easy to get distracted by the day-to-day craziness of classes, homework and activities during the school year. But that doesn't mean you can't make safety one of your top priorities, right? It only takes a few minutes a day, it's easy to do, and I promise, practicing fire safety throughout the year will be one of the best educational choices you will ever make. So what are you waiting for? Start making a difference today!