College Dorm Safety and Dorm Fire Safety Tips

campus fire safety

The school year for most college students has already started. Students are getting settled into their daily routines and studying regiments. Students have their room organized and they have followed some basic student storage tips. College students who live away from home in a dorm on campus need to be diligent about how to protect themselves and their property during the school year. This involved following simple dorm safety and security tips. 

Dorm Room Safety

Living in a college dorm room brings about many challenges for a student from learning to live with one to multiple roommates to finding additional college storage options for all of the items that are accumulated throughout the school year. College is a great time, but safety should never be taken for granted. It is important to follow some basic dorm room safety tips in order to keep the student and their belongings safe throughout the school year.

  • Make sure that family and close friends know your school routines including a daily schedule, class schedule and work schedule. Someone such as a roommate should be informed of where you are supposed to be just in case there is an emergency situation.
  • Always lock the door and windows to your dorm room. Never give a copy of the key to anyone. If the key is lost, have the lock changed as soon as possible.
  • Keep valuables hidden from view. This can easily be done with a diversion safe which is disguised to look like books or something that can easily blend into a drawer.
  • Students should know where the closest emergency phone and emergency routes are located. They should also have all emergency phone numbers saved in their phones. They should know the dorm room evacuation plan and participate in all fire drills. The campus fire safety information should be explained to the student at orientation.

 

Dorm Fire Safety Tips

Congress declared the month of September as Campus Fire Safety Month  in order to remind college students to be more cautious and pay attention to campus fire safety rules. According to the U.S. Fire Administration,  86 fatal fires occurred on college campuses or off-campus housing within 3 miles of campus claiming 123 lives. More than 80% of the fire fatalities occurred in off-campus housing with the majority of fires caused by cooking fires.  Other causes of fires in college dorms or apartments include overloaded power strips, candles, space heaters and arson. College students should always check with their colleges to see what is allowable in the dorm, such as small appliances or candles. These are possible fire hazards and extra caution needs to be performed around these items.  The National Fire Protection Association recommends a variety of tips for basic dorm and off-campus fire safety for college students as well as specifics for candle, cooking, smoking, and electrical devise safety.

  • Make sure that fire sprinklers are installed in dormitories, dorm rooms, campus buildings and off-campus housing.
  • Fire alarms should be able to be heard in the classroom, dorm room or off-campus apartment buildings. False alarms are a fact of life living in the dorms, but don’t ignore these alarms because one of the alarms could be real. Get out the building immediately when the fire alarm goes off.
  •  Dorm room, hallways and off-campus housing should all have visible smoke alarms. There should be smoke alarms in every sleeping room. For off-campus housing, there should also be smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside the bedrooms and on every floor. For off-campus housing, check and change the batteries of the smoke alarms if needed.  Test the smoke alarms monthly.
  • Always check with your college and landlord to see what small appliances and electrical items are allowed.
  • Most college dormitories do not allow candles. For off-campus living, use flameless candles whenever possible. If you must burn candles, extinguish the candles when you are leaving the room and do not put anything flammable near a burning candle.
  • For off campus living, ask the landlord when the heating system was last inspected. This is especially true for older off-campus housing buildings.
  • Since cooking fires are the leading cause of fires on/off campus, ALWAYS keep an eye on what you are cooking. Cook only in designated areas and keep cooking areas clean and free from anything that can be flammable.
  • Do NOT overload electrical outlets. Never use extension cords to plug in large appliances.
  • Unplug hair dryers, curling irons and hair-straighteners when they are not in use. Never leave these items (while plugged in) unattended.

 

Sources:

Campus Fire Safety: http://www.campusfiresafety.org/

U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/college.html

National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/occupancies/campus-and-dorm-fires/campus-and-dorm-fire-safety-tips