Does your college dorm have fire sprinklers? Do you know at least two ways to escape if a fire breaks out? Most students heading off to college aren’t thinking about these questions, but they should.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fires in college dormitories, Greek housing, and barracks have been steadily increasing in frequency; and The Center for Campus Fire Safety documented 91 fatal fires claiming a total of 128 victims since 2000.
Executive Director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB) advises parents and students to find out if their on- or off-campus housing has fire sprinklers. “Sprinklers are critical because they can quickly suppress a fire, reduce property damage, and give people more time to exit the building. In fact, having a fire sprinkler can reduce the chance of fire fatality by 85%.”
Colleges have fire safety protocols for on-campus housing, but most students don’t spend 24 hours a day in their dorm room.
“Surveying your environment and finding two ways out of every room is the first thing every student should do when they enter a new environment, whether it is a dorm, apartment, fraternity/sorority house, apartment or even a classroom building,” said Kurasz. “Every second counts when a fire breaks out. Knowing how to escape ahead of time you could save not only your life, but the lives of others.”
Kurasz recommends following the fire safety tips offered by the NFPA and the Center for Campus Fire Safety:
• Check for working fire alarms in every bedroom and outside sleeping areas on every floor, and test them monthly
• When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
• Stay in the kitchen when cooking; Cook only when you are alert
• Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or chimenea.
• Check dorm/campus rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
The NJFSAB hosts free Fire Sprinkler Burn Trailer demonstrations for colleges and local communities, to increase awareness of fire safety issues and the impact sprinklers can have on saving lives and property. “The Burn Trailer illustrates how quickly sprinklers work in real-time when exposed to flames, and how effective sprinklers are in suppressing fires,” said Kurasz.
For more information about Burn Trailer demonstrations contact NJFSAB at 866-226-6006 or visit: www.njfsab.org.