Do you have (or are you yourself) a student going away to school this fall?


The lists of things to remember to do before leaving home is immense: dorm necessities, vaccinations, class registrations… the list goes on and on.

In all the chaos and excitement, it’s hard to remember everything.

But the Los Angeles Fire Department came out with an important reminder this month: Prepare for the possibility of a fire in university housing.

Just like you have fire plans at home, at school, and at work, you also need one for Campus Housing.

Think it will never happen at your school?

155 people have died in campus-related fires since January 2000.


The National Fire Protection Association says fire departments responded to an average of 3,840 structure fires in dorms, fraternities, sororities and barracks between 2005-2009. Every year (on average), fires caused:

  • 3 civilian deaths
  • 28 civilian fire injuries
  • $20.9 million in direct property damage

So what can YOU do to keep yourself or your child safe while they’re away? 

1. Identify fire risks. 81% of reported fires involved cooking equipment

University Housing Fire Safety: Fire Causes


2. Know the Common Factors in Housing Fires: (source)

  • Fires in campus housing are most common between the hours of 5 and 11 p.m.
  • Lack of automatic fire sprinklers
  • Missing or disabled smoke alarms
  • Careless disposal of smoke materials
  • Impaired judgment
  • Fires originating on upholstered furniture on decks or porches

3. Follow these Tips: (source)

  • Look for fully sprinklered housing
  • Make sure your housing unit has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level
  • Confirm that smoke alarms are tested at least monthly
  • Never remove batteries or disable alarms
  • Learn building evacuation plans and have a copy on hand BY the door. No organized plan? Make sure YOU have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room
  • Cook only where permitted
  • Cook only when alert and not sleepy or drowsy
  • Different states have different restrictions for use of BBQ grills, fire pits and chimeneas. Check with your local fire department before using these items- especially if you moved from out-of-state!
  • Check with school rules on electrical appliances in your room
  • Use the right surge protectors for your computers or electronics and make sure the protector is plugged directly into an outlet

4. Ask these Questions when you arrive at school or drop your student off there

We know this is a busy time for everyone. There’s a lot of excitement and preparation that goes into starting a new semester at school. But please be sure to take FIRE SAFETY into account. It’s a real risk that is too often forgotten, which can lead to deadly consequences.


Additional resources:

California Casualty

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