Fire Safety Tips for
College Students


According to the NFPA, over 1,700 fires a year occur in dormitories and residential housing, The tragic fires at Seton Hall, Chapel Hill, Bloomsburg, Millikin and other colleges, the importance of fire safety in college has been heavily stressed to first year college students as well as current residents. Based on the historical causes of fires in student residencies, here are some fire safety tips designed to help save your life in case you find yourself in a fire situation.



bullet Whether or not you smoke, friends and relatives who visit your home may. It is important, in either case, to be careful with all smoking materials.
bullet Don't leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. put out all smoking materials before you walk away.
bullet Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs. The ashtray can be tipped easily, spilling hot ashes or burning cigarettes onto the carpet or furniture.
bullet Use large ashtrays with wide lips. While smaller ashtrays may be more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll of the edge, and ashes can easily be blown around.
bullet Close a match box before striking, and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" to prevent burns.
bullet Empty all ashtrays into the toilet or metal container. Warm ashes dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours, than ignite surrounding trash. An option is to place the ashtray in the kitchen sink and fill with water. Let it remain overnight before disposing.
bullet NEVER, EVER smoke in bed. Once mattresses catch fire, they are near impossible to put out, and can create enough smoke and heat to overcome a person. Make it a rule not to allow any smoking materials in bedrooms. Burning sheets blankets and other bedclothes create a fire from which escape is impossible. Toxic fumes from the smoke can kill.
bullet If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your cigarette or cigar. Do it before it may be too late.
bullet If friends or relatives who smoke have visited, be sure to check on the floor and around chair cushions for ashes that may have been dropped accidentally.

bullet The kitchen is a high danger zone for fire, so be extra cautious with flame when cooking in the kitchen.
bullet Keep all cartons and boxes away from heat sources. Smoke from these items can easily fill the apartment in seconds and overcome you.
bullet If you must leave the kitchen while you are cooking, turn off the burner. If you have something in the oven, check it every 15 minutes. Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove or in the oven. A "brief" departure from the kitchen to attend to other matters can easily turn into an extended time away. As a reminder to you, take a potholder, a cooking spoon, or other kitchen utensil with you when you leave the room. This object will help you remember that you have an unfinished task waiting in the kitchen.
bullet Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves. Robes and other loose fitting garments can ignite easily. Don't take chances!
bullet Regularly inspect your extension cords for fraying, exposed wires or loose plugs. They are not intended for use as permanent wiring. Unplug them when not in use.
bullet If you need to plug in two or three appliances, lamps, etc., do not use a simple extension cord. It is better to get a UL-approved unit that has built-in circuit breakers.


bullet In most cases, Your landlord or building management is responsible for smoke detectors where you live. Call and ask when they last were tested, cleaned or replaced. If the detectors have not been attended to, insist that the party responsible act immediately. If they do not respond, call the Fire Department, your school, or the Housing Authority. Smoke detectors are important protection to escape from a fire. You must have a smoke detector. Don't live without one!

bullet Plan your escape route. You should have a primary and a back-up route mapped out. Practice getting out. It may seem foolish to do so, or unnecessary (of course you know how to find a front door), but when there is a fire or smoke, your reasoning and patterns may be affected by the emergency. Even on your way to class, take a fire escape route.
bullet DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS IN AN EMERGENCY. If you have practiced escape routes, your memory and instinct will help you move in the right direction and in the right way.
bullet Check all the windows from which escape is planned. Can you open the window, or is it painted or nailed shut? Make sure your exits allow you to exit!
bullet If you have impairments that might make it more difficult for you to escape from fire, consider talking to your Fire Department and letting them know your special circumstances in advance.



bullet Never use the elevator during a fire!
bullet Know what do to in case of a fire.
bullet Never leave apartment doors open if you flee a fire.
bullet Keep your dorm Fire Safe!