Campus Fire Safety – It’s Your Responsibility to Ask!
Governor McCrory has declared September "Campus Fire Safety Month" in North Carolina. Parents and students should print out this page and refer to it when looking at on-campus and off-campus housing.
- How many fires have occurred on campus in the past year? How about fires in off-campus student housing?
Schools are now required to track and report residence halls fires to the U.S. Department of Education.
- Are the residence halls, Greek housing or off-campus housing equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system?
Sprinklers provide that vital line of defense when it comes to controlling a fire. Many residence halls are not sprinklered – ask for your student to be put in sprinklered housing.
- Does every student’s room have a smoke alarm? Does it send a signal to campus security or the fire department?
Fire alarm systems will give everyone the warning that there is a fire and it is time to get out.
- How many false alarms have occurred in the residence halls?
False alarms cause students to stop paying attention to the alarms, which can be a fatal decision. False alarms ARE avoidable, but only if the school takes action.
- What are the disciplinary steps taken against anyone who causes a false alarm, doesn’t get out during an alarm or tampers with fire safety equipment?
- Is the fire department IMMEDIATELY notified whenever any alarm system is activated?
Some schools investigate the alarm first and then notify the fire department. This delay can put more people at risk and can be deadly. The fire department should be automatically notified of ALL alarms.
- What items are prohibited in residence halls because of fire safety? Are smoking, candles, and Halogen lamps prohibited in the residence halls?
If not, they should be.
- Does the school have policies that electrical appliances and power strips be certified as safe and reliable?
- How much fire prevention training does the residence hall staff receive?
- How often do the students themselves receive fire prevention education?
This should continue throughout the academic career, not just while they are living in the residence halls.
- How often are evacuation drills conducted?
There should be at least one per semester.
- How often are fire safety inspections of the residence halls and student rooms done? Are the results made available to students and parents?
- For off-campus houses, are there smoke alarms in each bedroom and on each level?
- Are there couches or upholstered furniture on the front porch or deck?
Many communities are banning these and fire have started in couches and then spread into the house, killing those inside.
Certain materials reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org ©2014 NFPA.