Since 2000, 86 fatal fires have occurred on college campuses, in Greek housing, or in off-campus housing within 3-miles of the campus. These fires claimed 123 lives.
More than 80 percent of campus fire fatalities occur in off-campus housing. This has a direct impact on the prevention, planning and response activities for fire and emergency services departments located near colleges and universities.
There are several specific causes for fires on in on- and off-campus college housing, including cooking, candles, smoking and overloaded power strips. For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students know their fire risks and prevention actions that could save their lives.
Cook only where it is allowed.
Keep your cooking area clean and free of anything that can burn.
Keep an eye on what you are cooking, especially if you are cooking at high temperatures.
If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
Place candles in sturdy holders.
Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Keep candles away from anything that can burn.
Use safe flameless candles.
Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarettes butts or ashes in the trash can.
Use deep, wide ashtrays. Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to burn.
After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.
Don’t smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.
Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
Never use an extension cord with large appliances, like a refrigerator.
Do not overload outlets.
Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.
The proceeding information is brought to you by the Fitchburg Fire Department and the United States Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov)