Across the nation, students are going off to college during September and moving into residence halls, fraternities, sororities, and off-campus housing. It is a critical time for young people who are living away from home, many for the first time. It is also an important time for these students to be educated about fire safety.
The American Society of Safety Engineers reported that approximately 1,700 fires occur in collegiate housing each year – on and off campus – and about 150 fires occur each year in fraternity/sorority houses. It also noted the following:
· Smoke alarms operated in 79 percent of dormitory fires. However many people ignored the alarms as they thought they were false alarms.
· Cooking equipment caused 920 fires and 21 injuries at dormitories.
· Open flames caused 210 fires and 39 injuries at dormitories.
· Smoking materials caused 180 fires, 4 deaths, and 7 injuries at dormitories.
· Electrical distribution caused 130 fires and 7 injuries at dormitories.
· Appliance, tool, or air conditioning caused 90 fires and 1 injury at dormitories.
· Heating equipment caused 60 fires and 1 injury at dormitories.
· 56 percent of injuries from dormitory fires occurred when victims attempted to suppress the fire.
· Evacuations are delayed due to lack of fire drills and planning of escape routes.
Education and awareness are key to helping stop these injuries and tragic loss of life.