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College Campus Fire Safety
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By Lieutenant Scot Best
August 15, 2022

Going to college is an exciting time for students and their parents. Living in a new “home away from home” not only gives young adults more freedom to make their own choices, but it also provides them an increased level of personal responsibility while at school.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2015-2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 3,840 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other related properties. These fires caused annual averages of 29 civilian injuries and $11 million in direct property damage

When it comes to on- and off-campus housing, it’s important for students and parents to keep fire safety top of mind. Here are some things you need to know about fire safety on campus!

Campus Fire Safety- Facts and Stats:
• 94% of fatal campus fires occurred off-campus.
• Smoking (29%) was the leading cause of fatal campus fires.
• Alcohol was a factor in 76% of fatal campus fires.
• Smoke alarms were either missing or tampered with (disconnected or battery removed) in 58% of fatal campus fires.
• Fire sprinklers were not present in any of the 85 fatal campus fires.
• 70% of fatal campus fires occurred on the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
• 73% of the fatal fires occurred between midnight and 6 a.m.
• April was the peak month (13%) for fatal fires in campus housing.

Student Safety Tips:

• Cook only where it is allowed.
• Keep your cooking area clean and free of anything that can burn.
• If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
• Keep an eye on what you are cooking, especially if you are cooking at high temperatures.

• Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out.
• Never toss hot cigarettes butts or ashes in the trash can.
• Use deep, wide ashtrays.
• Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to burn.
• Don’t smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.
• After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.

Electrical safety:
• Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
• Never use an extension cord with large appliances, like a refrigerator.
• Do not overload outlets. Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.

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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
E-mail: info@ridgevfd.org
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