The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an entity of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing tips and information to colleges and universities on fire safety. The USFA’s Fire Safety 101 for Colleges and Universities offers facts, advice, necessary safety precautions, and likely causes. The white paper indicates that there is a strong link between alcohol and fire-related fatalities on college campuses. According to the administration, “In more than 50 percent of adult fire fatalities, victims were under the influence at the time of the fire.” Among the leading causes of fire injuries on college campuses was cooking, careless smoking, and arson. The following excerpt from Fire Safety 101 provides a sample of the safety precautions provided:
- Provide students with a program for fire safety and prevention.
- Install smoke alarms in every dormitory room and every level of housing facilities.
- Maintain and regularly test smoke alarms and fire-alarm systems. Replace smoke-alarm batteries every semester.
- Regularly inspect rooms and buildings for fire hazards. Ask you local fire department for assistance.
- Inspect exit doors and windows and make sure they are working properly.
- Create and update detailed floorplans of buildings, and make them available to emergency personnel, resident advisors, and students.
- Conduct fire drills and practice escape routes and evacuation plans. Urge students to take each alarm seriously.
- Do not overload electrical outlets and make sure extension cords are used properly.
The administration has also released Living with Fire: A Program for Campus and Student Fire Safety.This program offers a toolbox for individuals interested in developing a fire-safety program and contains PowerPoint presentations, promotional materials, incident investigations, and lesson plans.
To review these resources in their entirety visit the USFA website (www.usfa.dhs.gov/safety/atrisk/campus/101.shtm).