September 2021 has been declared Campus Fire Safety Month by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. The declaration, supported by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), aims to raise student awareness of fire hazards and promote the need for fire safety in campus and off-campus residences.
“As the college year gets underway, I remind Tennessee college students to focus on creating a fire-safe environment either on or off campus,” said State Fire Marshal and TDCI Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Through education and awareness, Tennessee students can reduce their fire risks and prevent a tragedy from occurring.”
Fires occurring in on-campus housing can carry a tragic toll. From 2016 to 2020, 187 campus housing fires occurred across the nation resulting in one civilian injury, two firefighter injuries and over $200,000 in property loss. Since 2000, SFMO’s data shows that two students have been killed in campus-related fires in Tennessee.
“I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of all of those who may have lost a loved one in a campus fire,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Gary Farley. “I urge Tennessee college students and their families to protect themselves from the dangers of fires that could occur on campus.”
Many campus-related fire fatalities have common factors such as a lack of automatic fire sprinklers, missing or disabled smoke alarms, careless smoking habits and the misuse of alcohol — which impairs judgment and hampers evacuation efforts.To help students protect themselves from the dangers of fire, the SFMO is sharing the following campus fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Campus Fire Safety Tips
- Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
- Make sure you can hear the building alarm system when you are in your dorm room.
- If you live in a dormitory, make sure your sleeping room has a smoke alarm, or your dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping room. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the dormitory suite should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- If you live in an apartment or house, make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area and on each level of the apartment unit or house. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the apartment unit or house should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least monthly. Never remove batteries or disable a working smoke alarm.
- Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
- If you live in off-campus housing, create and practice a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
- When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
- Remain in the kitchen when cooking.
- Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine or alcohol.
- Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbecue grill, fire pit or chimenea.
- Never smoke in bed or when you’ve been drinking or are drowsy. If you smoke, smoke outside and only where it is permitted. Never discard cigarettes into mulch, vegetation or other things that could ignite easily. Never smoke in bed or when you’ve been drinking or are drowsy.
- Burn candles only if the school permits their use. A candle is an open flame and should be placed away from anything that can burn. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow it out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.