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College/University Fire Safety

Across the nation, students are going 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.

Higher Education Opportunity Act

Federal fire safety reporting requirements included in Higher Education Opportunity Act, Public Law 110-315. The Act was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965.

College/University Fire Safety Resources

Alcohol and Fire
Campus Firewatch
Center for Campus Fire Safety
Fire Safety & Education for College Students Fire Prevention and Safety for College Students and Young Adults
Know fire. Fire Safety Videos
NFPA Campus and Dorm Fire Information
Off Campus Fire Safety Checklist

Cooking Fire Safety

Cooking remains a leading cause of residential fires and fire casualties.

Families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors. Whether you are cooking a family holiday dinner or a snack, practicing safe cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.

To learn how to prevent a cooking fire in your home and how to keep members of your household safe in case of fire, please visit the OSFM Cooking Fire Safety Webpage.

Electrical and Heating Safety

Heating and electrical fires can happen any time, and in any room of your home, because of overloading electrical outlets or extension cords or placing combustible materials too close to heating equipment.

In winter months, heating and electrical home fires spike because of increased use of heating appliances and lights.

For more information on safely using electical and heating items, please visit the OSFM Electrical and Heating Safety Webpage.

Fire, Earthquake, and Tsunami Dangers and Drills

Oregon law (ORS 336.071) requires students be taught fire, earthquake, and tsunami dangers and drills (where appropriate) at least 30 minutes each month.

The OSFM offers curriculum and teacher training about fire awareness to fulfill health education requirements.

School Resources
Do the Drill! A School Resource Guide for Safety Planning
Fire/Emergency Evacuation Drill Record

Home Fire Escape Planing

Fire can spread quickly, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape after the smoke alarm sounds. People are often confused about what to do during a fire. Infants, children, older adults, and people with disabilities may be at greater risk because of their inability to escape quickly or on their own.

Many fire injuries and deaths occur when residents attempt to fight a home fire, when exits are not defined, or when they are blocked.

While the instinct to save your home and belongings is understandable, attempting to fight a fire is dangerous and can cost you your life. When the smoke alarm sounds, the best plan is to get out quickly and call 911.

Prepare, Act, Survive

Installing smoke alarms, having a home fire escape plan, and practicing the plan can help reduce the risk for the whole family. Below are tips on how to prepare to get you and your family out safely in case of a fire.

Step 1: Make sure you have working smoke alarms

  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside sleeping areas (hallway), and in each bedroom. Sleep with your bedroom doors closed. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of a working smoke alarm.
  • If you don't have working smoke alarms, contact your local fire agency or the American Red Cross at or 503-528-5783.

Step 2: Create a home fire escape plan

  • Make a home fire escape plan and involve all of your family in developing it. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Draw a map of each level of your home that shows all doors and windows. Identify two ways out of every room, and two ways out of your home. Make sure everyone in the home (including visitors) knows the plan.
  • Keep exit routes, including windows, clear of furniture, toys, etc. to allow access to escape. Make sure all doors and windows that lead to the outside open easily.
  • Identify an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of the home such as a tree, light pole, or mailbox. Make sure everyone knows where the meeting place is and to go there if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Make sure your house number can easily be seen from the street during the day and night so firefighters can find your home quickly.

Step 3: Practice your home fire escape plan

  • Practice your home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
  • Smoke is dangerous; teach children to crawl low on their hands and knees under the smoke until they get out.
  • Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get out. Close the doors behind you as you exit. Call 911 from outside your home. Once out, stay out.

Home Fire Sprinklers

Residential fire sprinklers reduced fatality rates by 50% in communities where they're required. Fire damage to homes with sprinklers was reduced by 90% on average.

For more information on home fire sprinklers, visit Home Fire Sprinklers

Older Adult Fire & Fall Prevention

Older adults are more likely to be injured or die in a fire and are at higher risk for falls compared to the population at large. It's important to take the necessary steps to stay safe.

Older Adult Fire and Fall Prevention

According to the Portland State University Population Research Center, more than 30% of Oregon’s population is age 50 and over. In the five-year period from 2007-2012, this age group accounted for 63.5% of fire fatalities in Oregon. In addition, falls are also the leading cause of hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries among Oregon’s older adults.

We developed 'Take the Right Steps' fire and fall prevention and safety for older adults to reduce fire and fall injuries and fatalities for Oregon’s older adult population. Check out more on this page.

Learn More for Older Adults

Recreational Vehicle Safety

Recreational vehicles are a popular way to enjoy all Oregon has to offer. Whether you use your RV as your home, for traveling, or both, it's important to understand fire prevention and safety of your vehicle to protect you and your family.

Cooking Appliances Safe operation

  • Ensure proper ventilation before operating the appliance.
  • Open an overhead vent or turn on the exhaust fan.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from burners.
  • Never use cooking appliances for heating.

If you smell gas

  • Check stove knobs to ensure they are in the off position.
  • Extinguish all open flames (pilot lights, lamps, smoking materials, etc.).
  • Turn off the gas supply.
  • Do not operate electrical switches. Turning a switch on or off can create a spark and may explode.
  • Open doors, windows, and vents.
  • Leave the RV until the odor is gone.
  • Have a qualified professional check and repair the gas system.

Electric heaters

  • Keep anything that can burn (paper, furniture, bedding, or curtains) at least three feet from heating equipment.
  • Plug space heaters directly into an electrical outlet. Do not use extension cords or power strips.
  • Purchase and use portable space heaters with automatic shut-off so if they're tipped over, they will shut off.
  • Place space heaters on a solid, flat surface.

General electrical safety

  • Make sure the power cord connecting the RV to the campground electricity supply is in good condition.
  • Inspect for cracked or damaged cords, broken plugs, or loose connections on all appliances.
  • Avoid electrical overload. Limit the number of appliances operating at one time.

Fire extinguishers

  • Have an extinguisher installed near the primary exit and know how to use it. When in doubt, just get out.
  • Extinguishers are meant to put out small fires.
  • Use extinguishers only if it can be done without putting yourself or others in danger.
  • Once a month, turn dry chemical extinguishers upside down and tap on the bottom to loosen the powder.
  • Ensure the needle on the gauge is in the green, indicating it is fully charged.

Smoke alarms

  • Install a smoke alarm inside your RV.
  • If the alarm chirps, replace the batteries or the entire alarm, depending on manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms

  • Install a CO alarm inside your RV.
  • If the alarm chirps, replace the batteries or the entire alarm, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Replace CO alarms based on manufacturer's recommendations.

Fire escape plan

  • Ensure emergency exit windows and hatches are clearly marked and in good working order.
  • Ensure all occupants know where and how to operate escape windows.
  • Keep exit routes unobstructed.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Call 911.


Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke Alarms

During a fire, you may have less than two minutes to escape. Smoke alarms alert you to danger and give your family time to get out. You are more likely to survive a home fire if you have working smoke alarms.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

CO is a poisonous, odorless gas created when fuels burn. CO poisoning can be fatal and can result from fireplaces, woodstoves, gas furnaces, or other gas appliances, portable generators, or vehicles running in your garage. CO alarms in your home give you early warning of carbon monoxide.

For more information, visit Smoke and CO Alarms.

Wildland Urban Interface

People living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), where homes and other structures are built in or near woodlands or forests, face wildfire danger.

Wildfires can be ignited by escaped burning debris, a cigarette, an unattended campfire, or from natural causes like lighting, and they spread fast.

For more information and tips on fire prevention and safety within the WUI, visit Wildland Urban Interface.