In 2011, a fast-moving fire swept through a building in Paris that killed four people and injured many others. Three of the victims were students studying abroad. The building where they lived had no smoke alarms, no fire escapes, and only narrow wooden stairwells that became overcrowded and impassable in the fire.
When it comes to our students on college campuses, including those traveling and studying abroad, safety is paramount. There are marked differences between the U.S. and other countries when it comes to fire safety and public education, according to a recent “Outreach” column, “Fire Safety Abroad,” in the January/February 2017 issue of NFPA Journal. It would serve us well to understand these differences and how we can take the appropriate steps to help ensure the safety of these young adults when they go overseas. Three of these tips include:
• Take a couple of battery-operated smoke alarms with you and place them in the apartment
• Try and live on a low floor so you can be reached by a fire truck ladder
• Choose a residence made of brick or stone rather than wood and with unobstructed windows
As the spring semester comes to a close and students prepare for a summer abroad program, take the time to review these simple but lifesaving measures and add these measures to the list of to-do's before they hop on a plane.
For additional information about campus fire safety, including tip sheets, checklists, videos and more, visit NFPA’s campus fire safety webpage.