Fire Safety for Off-Campus Living

Tips for Off-Campus Students

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year college and university students on and off campus experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. There are several specific causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, intentionally set fires, overloaded power strips, and open flame.

Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. It is important that both on- and off-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives.

Download the Commuter Life Fire Safety Checklist

Before Signing a Lease

Ask:
  1. Are working smoke alarms installed? (Preferably in each bedroom, interconnected to sound all if any one detects smoke)
  2. Are there at least two ways to exit your bedroom and your building?
  3. Do the upper floors of the building have at least two interior stairs, or a fire escape?
  4. Is a sprinkler system installed and maintained?
  5. Are the existing electrical outlets adequate for all of the appliances, computers, printers and electronics that you are bringing – without the need for extension cords?
  6. Are there EXIT signs in the building hallways to indicate accessible escape routes?
  7. Does the building have a fire alarm system installed and maintained?
  8. Has the buildings heating system been inspected recently (in the last year)?
  9. Is the building address clearly posted to allow emergency services to find you quickly in the event of an emergency?
  10. Does the sprinkler system or fire alarm system send a signal to the local fire department and/or campus security?

Fire Safety Tips for Off-Campus Living

Candles
  • Make sure candles are in sturdy holders and put out after each use.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draperies and linens.
  • Use flameless candles which are both safe and attractive.
Cooking
  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave or electric oven, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
Smoking
  • Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out.
  • Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays. Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to ignite.
  • After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.
  • It is risky to smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.