College students who live away from home need to be just as diligent about fire safety as they were when they were living at home. Most college students learned about fire safety during Fire Prevention Weeks in elementary school. But, students can forget about the important safety tips as they are getting older and are more independent. That is why Congress declared the month of September as Campus Fire Safety Month in order for college students to be more cautious and pay attention to fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on average, there are over 3,800 campus fires that occur each year with 88% of them caused by cooking fires. The other causes of fires in college dorms or apartments include overloaded power strips, candles, space heaters, and arson. College students should always check with their college for what is allowable in the dorm, such as small appliances or candles. These are possible fire hazards and extra caution needs to be performed around these items. AKE Safety Equipment wants to make sure that college students are aware of fire hazards so they can stay fire safe! Below is a list of basic fire safety tips for college students as well as specifics for candle, cooking, smoking, and electrical device safety.
Basic Fire Safety Tips for College Students
- If living in a multi-person housing situation, choose one where fire sprinklers are installed (i.e dormitories, dorm rooms, campus buildings, and off-campus housing).
- Can the fire alarm be heard in the classroom, dorm room, or apartment that you are living in? False alarms are a fact of life living in the dorms, but don’t ignore these alarms because one of the alarms could be real. Get out of the building immediately when the fire alarm goes off.
- Check if the dorm room, hallways, and off-campus housing has smoke alarms. There should be smoke alarms in every sleeping room. For off-campus housing, there should also be smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside the bedrooms, and on every floor. Also, check and change the batteries of the smoke alarms if needed and test the smoke alarms monthly. If you live in multi-person housing, remind your property manager to do these things.
- Look for the fire escape plan for the dorm building. Are there two ways to escape the room and the building? If you are off-campus, then make sure to create the escape plan with your roommates.
- For off-campus living, ask the landlord when the heating system was last inspected. This is especially true for older off-campus housing buildings.
Important Fire Safety Tips and Guidelines
These tips will pertain to off-campus living as most college dormitories do not allow candles
- Place candles in sturdy candle holders
- Use flameless candles whenever possible
- Do not keep anything flammable around a burning candle
- Extinguish the candles after using
Cooking Fire Safety Tips
- Cook only in designated areas
- Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy
- Keep cooking areas clean and free from anything that is flammable and can burn
- Always keep an eye on what you are cooking
- If a fire starts in the microwave oven, keep the doors shut and immediately unplug the unit
Smoking Fire Safety Tips
These tips will pertain to off-campus living as most college campuses buildings are smoke free.
- Make sure that cigarettes and ashes are completely extinguished before disposing them in a metal trash can
- For off-campus housing where smoking is allowed, use deep, non-tip, and sturdy ashtrays. Place the ashtrays on a stable surface
- After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially in couch and chair cushions
Electrical Fire Safety Tips
- Never use extension cords with large appliances
- Do not overload electrical outlets –this is especially important for older off-campus housing that might not have the best electrical systems
- Unplug hairdryers, curling irons, and hair-straighteners when they are not in use and never leave these items unattended in your room
- Always check with your college and landlord to see what small appliances and electrical items are allowed