Fire Safety

 

Fire safety can become a greater issue once you're living off campus.  For example, you may be cooking more or other tenants may be smoking within their units in your building all of which poses a greater risk of a fire emergency.  Ideally, your actions will prevent a fire emergency.  Being prepared, remaining calm, and using common sense can save your life during a fire.  For more information and recent news regarding students and fire safety, visit The Center for Campus Fire Safety websitelink.

Being Prepared
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and change batteries every six months.
  • Both types of detectors should be on each level outside sleeping areas, where they'll be easily heard. Smoke detectors should be located on the ceiling or the wall near the ceiling. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed according to manufacturer instructions.  Information varies from other sources on proper placement, so research is required to compare opinions on whether to place the detector just below the ceiling or on the ceiling itself.
  • Develop a plan and at least two escape routes to use during a fire.  Rehearse using the routes and your plan with all your roommates, meeting at a designated area outside your rental home, accounting for everyone's safe evacuation.
  • If living in a rental where ground level escape is not feasible, purchase a fire escape ladder and store it so it is readily accessible during an emergency.
  • Save the fire department's telephone number in your cell phone and a have a printed list of emergency numbers posted in your home, next to a landline if available.
  • Know the locations of any fire extinguishers and fire alarms present in your rental unit or building.
  • Read the instructions for using a fire extinguisher prior to any fire emergency rather than waiting for an emergency to figure out how they operate.  Basic instructions for operating a fire extinguisher can be found here.
  • For a thorough, printable list of fire safety tipslink by topic, visit the informative webpage produced by the NFPA.
  • If you have pets, post a sign stating so anyone assisting in evacuation can help get them to safety too!
Prevention
  • Avoid using extension cords.
  • Do not overload outlets.
  • Don't leave lit candles or incense unattended.  Make sure any open flames are not near flammable materials such as curtains, posters, or fabrics.
  • Do not leave food unattended on the stove or in the microwave and make sure all burners are turned off prior to leaving your house.
  • Don't smoke in bed.  Make sure all cigarettes are fully extinguished.
  • Do not use space heaters.
  • Keep flammable items, including furniture, at least three feet away from water heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces.
  • Make sure the wattage of light bulbs in your house matches the correct wattage for the fixtures.
  • Don't run the dryer without a lint trap and clean the trap regularly.
  • Keep electrical wiring in good condition and never use an electrical device with frayed wiring.
  • Do not grill indoors.  Not only is it a fire hazard, but it also produces deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Do not grill on balconies or decks.  Grilling should be done at ground level, away from your house.
  • Do not store scooters, motorcycles, or any gas containing receptacles in porch areas.
In a Fire Emergency
  • Immediately call 911 once you are out of harm's way.
  • Evaluate the fire, determining whether to fight or go into flight.  The Risk Management Office has information on fire safety basics that can help you to decide which action to take.  When in doubt, always remember that getting out safely is the first priority.
  • Never ignore a fire alarm and close all doors behind you as you evacuate.
  • Use the stairs.  NEVER use an elevator during a fire.
  • Test every door for heat.  If a door feels hot or you see smoke seeping out DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
  • Remain low to the ground and crawl to safety.
  • Cover your mouth to avoid inhaling smoke.  Many people die in fires from smoke inhalation, not from the flames.
  • If a fire starts while cooking, put a lid over the pan or use a fire extinguisher.  Never use water on grease fires.
  • DON'T PANIC.  If trapped by the fire, close your door and seal off any cracks with wet towels.  If possible open a window for air and signal for help.