Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito declared September Campus Fire Safety Month at an event held today at the State House. Lieutenant Governor Polito joined fire safety advocates and building officials in their call for greater awareness of the risks in off-campus housing where all five campus-related fire deaths have occurred over the past decade. Apartments with no working smoke alarms, no carbon monoxide alarms and only one means of escape pose the greatest threat to students.
"Massachusetts is the home away from home to thousands of college students, and many upper classmen live off-campus where potential dangers are much more common," said Lieutenant Governor Polito. "Every student has the right to safe housing and that includes working smoke alarms and two exit points in the event of an emergency."
To coincide with the signing of the proclamation, a public awareness campaign called, "Best Roommates Evah!" was launched and focuses on two aspects of fire safety regarding off-campus housing: the importance of having working smoke alarms and having two ways out of the house. And just as the name of our campaign suggests, we believe these two "roomies" (smoke alarms and having two means of egress) will truly be the best friends students could have, ever (or ‘evah’ as we say here in Boston), while at school! The campaign was developed by a group of Massachusetts fire chiefs, building officials, college safety officials and campus fire safety advocates.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, 2,737 fires have occurred from 2011 to 2015 in student dormitories, fraternities and sororities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts alone. As a result of these fires, there were five civilian injuries, two fire service injuries, and an estimated $1 million in damages.
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