September 2013 - Code Compliance


Fire Safety for Student Accommodations

September 1, 2013

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Many students attend college or university this fall will be living away from home for the first time. This can be a concern for parents as they try to ensure their children will be safe when they’re not living at home. Here are a few important fire safety rules that parents should discuss with their children before dropping them off at their new residence.

 

Cooking  

  • Remain in the kitchen when cooking something on the stove.
  • Keep all combustible items such as tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels a safe distance away from the stove.
  • Keep a pot lid near the stove to smother the flames if a fire starts in a pot.

 

Candles

  • Tea lights or votive candles in non-combustible containers are a safer choice than tapers.
  • Place burning candles in a location where they can’t be knocked away from combustible items.
  • Refrain from burning candles during parties. They can easily be knocked over or ignite nearby combustibles, unnoticed.
  • Blow out all candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

 

Social Gatherings

  • Avoid over-crowding, the more people attending the party, the easier it is to lose control of the situation.
  • Encourage guests to smoke outside.  Consider putting up no smoking signs that direct guests to an outside smoking area.

 

Smoking

  • Encourage smokers to go outside.
  • Keep large, deep ashtrays on hand that will reduce the risk of ashes and cigarette butts falling onto rugs or upholstery.
  • Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing.

 

Electrical Equipment

  • Use an approved power bar with a circuit breaker and surge protector to plug in computer and stereo equipment.
  • Avoid the use of extension cords as permanent wiring.
  • Make sure electrical cords are not concealed under carpets or rugs where they can be easily damaged.

 

Smoke Alarms

  • The responsibility for smoke alarm installation and maintenance lies with the building owner however, it is a good idea for parents to provide their child with a smoke alarm for his or her bedroom.
  • It is against the law for occupants to disable or tamper with a smoke alarm.
  • If a smoke alarm activates due to steam from the shower or cooking on the stove, oven or toaster, ask the landlord to move the alarm to a different location, or to install a smoke alarm with a “hush” feature.

 

Fire Escape Planning

  • Identify two ways out of every building, if possible.
  •  Make sure all designated escape routes are accessible and free of clutter.
  • Leave the building as quickly as possible. Once outside, don’t re-enter the building for any reason.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the building using a cell phone or neighbor’s phone.