Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Staying safe on campus does not mean only traveling with others after dark.
Following the recent fraternity house fire, it is important to remember that students are still vulnerable to fires in dorms or apartments.
The best way to survive a fire is to prevent one. There are a few things that you can do to help keep yourself, your friends, roommates, and neighbors safe.
For fire prevention it is necessary to be aware of your surroundings and careful with your belongings. To lessen the chance of an electrical fire you should never overload outlets.
Make sure electrical plugs in extension cords are not up against walls or too close to furniture that could catch fire. You should unplug appliances when they are not in use. It’s also necessary to never use frayed electrical cords.
Smoking is also a fire hazard that can be easily avoided. If you are going to smoke only do so in designated areas. Make sure to use deep ashtrays and soak cigarettes before disposing of them in trash cans. Never smoke in bed and avoid smoking if you are tired. It’s also not safe to smoke when you’ve been drinking.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there has been an increase in fires and fire related deaths in connection with candles and people who use them carelessly.
Never leave a candle burning unattended, even if it is for a few minutes. Keep candles a safe distance from anything that could catch fire, including curtains and papers. It’s also essential to use strong holders and keep an eye on the candle, not allowing it to burn all the way down.
Make sure that you have easy access to fire extinguishers and working fire alarms. If you live in an apartment or house, it’s vital to have fire extinguishers on every floor and in close proximity to bedrooms.
Having smoke detectors is not enough to ensure early recognition of possible fires. Test them. Replace batteries at least once a year or at the beginning of every semester and every time the alarm makes a “chirping” noise.
Also, never tamper with a smoke alarm, even if it is for a few moments. Tampering with fire alarms or smoke detectors can be a criminal offense and it puts you and others in danger. Making sure you have working detectors is the first step to making sure that you will get out safely in case of a fire.
Sometimes, despite all preventative measures taken, fires happen. It’s extremely important to have an escape route planned in case of a fire. Be sure that you know where all the possible exits are from your home or dorm. You should have two escape routes planned in case one route is blocked by smoke or fire.
In the event that there is a fire in your dorm or home, get out. Use the escape routes you have planned. Stay low to the ground, as smoke can make it impossible to see and can be toxic within minutes. Before opening any doors, make sure to feel for heat first. If the door knob is hot to the touch, leave the door shut. Even if the handle is not warm, open the door carefully and always check for smoke or fire before exiting.
There are some other things that can be done to ensure safety when escaping a burning building. Close the door behind you so you can help limit the fire damage.
If possible, pull the fire alarm to alert other people. If the hallway and exit are not too smoky, yell “FIRE!” as you leave. Never use elevators, only stairs. Get out and get help as quickly as possible.
However, do not call for help before you are safely away from the building. Don’t look for other people; fire fighters are trained for search and rescue and you will only be putting yourself in more danger. Never stop to collect your belongings or stray from your path in getting out. Most importantly, never go back into a burning building.
If you find yourself stuck in the building, call the fire department and let them know where you are. Try to seal the door with rags to hold off smoke or fire. Open windows slightly from the top and bottom if you can, but if smoke comes in from any direction close them immediately. If you are able, hang a sheet from the window to alert rescuers to your presence.
Remember that even if the building you are in is made of concrete you are still in danger during a fire. Never ignore a fire alarm and always be aware of your surroundings.
Precaution and knowledge can save you from being hurt by fire or smoke. For more information, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association at or The United States Fire Administration at So be safe and make sure the only thing you are burning this semester is the midnight oil.

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