ATLANTA, Ga. – August 14, 2017 – Along with the return of the school season, the month of September also marks campus fire safety month. Every year college students, on- and off-campus, are involved in hundreds of fire-related emergencies. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there are several specific causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, arson, and smoking and 76 percent of fatal campus fires involved alcohol. Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Enviro-Log®, Inc., a leader in eco-friendly products for home heating and outdoor activities, is offering helpful tips to keep college students informed and safe this school year.
“Back to school season is an exciting time for college students but new found independence also comes with increased responsibilities including fire safety,” said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log. Inc. “It is important students are aware of fire risks and know the preventative measures that could help save their lives.”
Here are some easy tips to follow to keep your dorm, apartment or house safe from fire:
• Don’t hide from fire alarms: Treat every fire drill as if it were the real thing, even if it occurs at 3 a.m. Leave the building immediately and close all doors behind you. Always be aware of alternative exits in case your main exit is blocked. Keep clutter out of hallways and entrances because they can become deadly obstacles to your escape.
• Never remove the batteries from your smoke or carbon monoxide detector: These devices can save your life, so taking out the batteries for use in other electronic devices is not a good idea. Always ensure that your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries at all times. An easy way to remember to change the batteries on these devices is to do it when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
• Don’t overload outlets: Using a series of adaptors to connect numerous machines or devices to an electrical outlet may result in an overload, power outage, spark or fire. Do not plug more than two devices into one electrical outlet. If an extension cord must be used, be sure to use an-approved and correctly rated extension cord for use with the particular appliance and location.
• Limit your use of open flames inside: The use of candles and indoor smoking are other top causes of on-campus fires. Don’t allow smoking inside your dorm room or apartment and never leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles in a sturdy holder that is away from papers, bedding, curtains and other flammable materials.
• Follow school rules on in-house cooking: Cooking is the second leading cause of dorm fires after arson. The majority of cooking fires are started due to inattentiveness. Selecting appliances with automatic shut-off switches is a great idea for dorm rooms. Don’t use stoves and microwaves for storage and don’t use them to help heat a cold dorm room or apartment. Lastly, keep a functional fire extinguisher nearby the cooking area and make sure you know how to use it.
• Take safety precautions when grilling: Grills should only be used outdoors and never in a trailer, tent, house, garage, covered porch or any enclosed area. They should be positioned at least 10 feet away from an apartment building or house. In addition to creating a fire hazard, operating a grill in an enclosed area can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide. Never add lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids to a charcoal grill that has been lit. When using a gas grill, always check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to your propane tank. Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
• Use caution with outdoor recreational fires and bonfires: Always check with your school ordinances on rules regarding open fires and bonfires. Keep fires away from homes, trees, fences and other items. Make sure you factor in weather conditions and never have an open fire in windy or dry conditions. Only burn wood and other safe, nontoxic materials in the fire. Always make sure you have a fire hose and extinguisher on hand. When finished with a bonfire, be sure it is fully extinguished before abandoning it.
• Practice safe measures when tailgating: When grilling, all fires and hot coals should be contained within a proper grill and should never be left unattended. Hot charcoals or briquettes should be extinguished thoroughly with water before leaving the area. Do not operate a grill while intoxicated. Stadium parking lots can get crowded, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and have enough space to grill safely.
For additional information and tips on campus fire safety, please visit the following Web sites:
• U.S. Fire Administration: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/college.html
• The Center for Campus Fire Safety: www.campusfiresafety.org