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5 Steps to Stop College Housing Fires

On average, 3,800 house fires occur in college housing each year1. With many students heading to college for the first time, it is important to remind them of fire hazards while living in college dorms, Greek housing, or off-campus housing. 94% of fatal college fires took place in off-campus housing2. Relaxed rules and oversight in comparison to the college dorms create an environment of freedom for the first time for some young adults. It's important with this added responsibility that students keep safety in mind when making choices. Educate yourself or your child before the new semester starts with these recommendations. 

1. Cooking Safety

  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Remind your college student to cook only while fully awake, alert, and sober.
  • Stay in the kitchen when boiling or frying foods.
  • Stock foods that don't require cooking for those late-night study sessions. 
  • Check school rules for cooking in dorms. Many restrict the use of toasters and hotplates. Microwaves are good options as they do not use an exposed heating element.

2. Candle Safety

  • Check the school's rules on burning candles. If they are allowed, burn only on flat surfaces at least 12 inches from flammable materials.
  • Always extinguish the candles before leaving or going to bed.
  • A better option for fragrance is air fresheners that do not require fire or electricity. Flameless candles are another fire-safe choice.

3. Smoking

  • Smoke responsibly in designated areas.
  • Make sure to extinguish smoking materials properly in an ashtray or deep can of sand.
  • Never smoke in bed when you are tired. Smoking is the leading cause of fatal campus fires

4. Fire-Safe Housing

  • Research and choose fire-safe housing. Make sure there are working smoke alarms and CO2 detectors outside of each sleeping area and on each level. Never remove the batteries or disconnect the smoke alarms.
  • Check for two ways out of every room and keep them clear of furniture and belongings. Familiarize yourself with the facility's fire escape route, taking note of two exit options when you are in a new environment.
  • Housing with sprinklers is the best choice, September and October are the top months for fires in dorms3
  • Know who you are renting from. Some landlords see only dollar signs when kids are forced to rent housing close to campus. Unfortunately, they may not make the necessary maintenance or code upgrades. 

5. Electronics

  • Practice fire safety with electronics. Do not charge cell phones or laptops on bedding. Reduced airflow can lead to overheating and fires.
  • Electric space heaters should be kept away from flammable materials and the only source plugged into an outlet at a time.
  • Don't overload the circuits. Many campus buildings are old with outdated wiring systems. Today's student requires a significant amount of electronics compared to when these buildings were first constructed. 

We hope you or your college student will find these suggestions useful in preventing a disaster. If you do need fire damage restoration help, our technicians are available 24/7/365.  We have over 20 years of experience and certified technicians who know exactly what to do to get your home back to normal. Contact us today and we'll be there to help.