Fire Safety 101: A Factsheet
for Colleges and Universities
Every year college and university
students experience a growing number of fire-related emergencies. There
are several causes for these fires, however most are due to a general lack
of knowledge about fire safety and prevention.
The Haworth Volunteer Fire
Department and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) offer these
tips to help reduce and prevent the loss of life and property in dormitory
and university housing fires.
In cases where fire fatalities
occurred on college campuses, alcohol was a factor. There is a strong link
between alcohol and fire deaths. In more than 50% of adult fire fatalities,
victims were under the influence at the time of the fire. Alcohol abuse
often impairs judgment and hampers evacuation efforts. Cooking is the leading
cause of fire injuries on college campuses, closely followed by careless
smoking and arson.
Many factors contribute
to the problem of dormitory housing fires.
Improper use of 911 notification
systems delays emergency response.
Student apathy is prevalent.
Many are unaware that fire is a risk or threat in the environment.
Evacuation efforts are hindered
since fire alarms are often ignored.
Building evacuations are delayed
due to lack of preparation and preplanning.
Vandalized and improperly maintained
smoke alarms and fire alarm systems inhibit early detection of fires.
Misuse of cooking appliances,
overloaded electrical circuits and extension cords increase the risk of
Provide students with a program
for fire safety and prevention.
Teach students how to properly
notify the fire department using the 911 system.
Install smoke alarms in every
dormitory room and every level of housing facilities.
Maintain and regularly test
smoke alarms and fire alarm systems. Replace smoke alarm batteries every
Regularly inspect rooms and
buildings for fire hazards. Ask your local fire department for assistance.
Inspect exit doors and windows
and make sure they are working properly.
Create and update detailed
floor plans of buildings, and make them available to emergency personnel,
resident advisors and students.
Conduct fire drills and practice
escape routes and evacuation plans. Urge students to take each alarm seriously.
Do not overload electrical
outlets and make sure extension cords are used properly.
Learn to properly use and
maintain heating and cooking appliances.