For Immediate Release: August 11, 2012
State Fire Marshal Urges Students to Practice Campus Fire Safety
RALEIGH -- As many college students move into dorms and off-campus housing in the coming days, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin wants students to make sure they will be living in a fire-safe environment.
"Going away to school is an exciting and stressful time, and parents and students might overlook safety details," said Goodwin. "It's important for students to be proactive, to ask questions, to make a fire safety plan and practice it so that the school year is a safe one."
From 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,840 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks. These fires caused an annual average of three civilian deaths, 38 civilian fire injuries and $20.9 million in direct property damage. During that time period, cooking equipment was involved in 81 percent of the reported dormitory fires.
To mark the beginning of the school year and campus move-in, Goodwin encourages college students to follow these fire safety tips:
- Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
- Make sure your dormitory or apartment has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level. For the best protection, all smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least monthly and never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
- Check your school's rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
- Use a surge protector for your computer and plug the protector directly into an outlet.
- Use extra caution with hair dryers, curling irons and other heat-producing electrical appliances. Unplug after use and store in a location away from bedding and other combustible materials.
- Learn your building's evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
- Know the sound of your building's fire alarm. When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
- If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
- Cook only where it is permitted and only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine or alcohol. Stay in the kitchen when cooking and do not leave cooking appliances unattended.
- Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit or chimenea.
To access a resource sheet for parents and students to use when looking at on-campus and off-campus housing, go to http://bit.ly/safecampus.
For more campus fire safety information, visit the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org.