In connection with National Preparedness Month, State Fire Marshal Michael P. Bell encourages Ohio’s college students, parents, landlords and school administrators to take preventive measures and recognize fire risks that could save lives and property.
“College is often the first time many students are responsible for all aspects of their daily living, including their own personal safety,” said Marshal Bell. “Following proper fire safety procedures can help them focus on the positive aspects of college life.”
Marshal Bell said a fire safety and prevention program is essential for incoming and new students, as well as for off-campus organizations that provide housing. “Practicing fire safety at all times, whether in dormitories or off-campus housing, can mean the difference between life and death,” he said.
According to Campus Firewatch, there have been 129 campus-related fire fatalities since January 2000. This includes residence hall, off-campus and Greek student housing. According to the organization, more than 83 percent of the campus-related fire fatalities have occurred in off-campus housing. Common factors in a number of these fires include missing or disabled smoke alarms, careless disposal of smoking materials and impaired judgment from alcohol consumption.
Marshal Bell encourages students to:
• Take all fire and smoke alarms seriously.
• Know the dormitory’s or residence hall’s fire escape plan. Each student should know two ways out – one normal route through hallways and stairways and one alternative route.
• Have smoke detectors installed on each level of the residence and inside each bedroom or sleeping area.
• Check the smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a semester.
• Never remove the smoke detector batteries because of cooking smoke or the need for a battery elsewhere, such as a flashlight, game or other electronic device.
• Extinguish all smoking materials, candles and incense thoroughly. Never leave them unattended.
• Clean up immediately after parties and take all trash outside. Designate a non-impaired “event monitor” to be in charge of the clean up.
• Do not overload electrical outlets or use extension cords.