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College Fire Safety Tips

September is National Campus Fire Safety Month!  Do you have children bound for a college dorm?  Are they just getting into an apartment or rental house this school year?  Know what to ask about fire safety features and their daily habits that influence safety... Please remind them about these important tips:

It’s most important to PREVENT fires from happening in the first place:

Dorm Safety

  • Avoid using candles and incense.
  • Keep holiday lights away from combustibles.  If the rules say not to use them, don’t. 
  • If you smoke, do it outside.  Consider quitting.
  • Use power strips with breakers.  Avoid overloading outlets.
  • Know your campus fire safety rules and procedures.
  • Know the fire exits and where fire extinguishers are located.
  • Prank false fire alarms are not cool and are punishable by law.

Off-Campus Housing:

  1. When you cook: Stay and look! Stay in the kitchen while frying, broiling or grilling food. 
  2. Smoke outside.  Have sturdy, deep ashtrays.  Avoid using potted plants for butting cigarettes.  Quit smoking.
  3. Use power strips with breakers.  Don’t overload outlets.
  4. Keep decorative lighting away from combustibles.  Turn off when you leave or go to bed.
  5. Be careful when using candles and incense.  Keep them away from combustibles.  Extinguish them when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  6. Give space heaters space.  Keep them at least 3 feet from anything that can burn.
  7. Be aware that alcohol and drug use can impair judgment and risks safety.

Before moving in to any rental housing make sure you will be PROTECTED from fire. 

  1. Check that there are working smoke alarms in and near sleeping areas.  Test them monthly.  Replace batteries yearly.  Replace smoke alarms after 10 years.
  2. Make sure to have 2 exits from bedrooms including basements used as sleeping areas. A legal exit or “egress” is one that is a minimum area of 5.7 square feet, is 24” X 20” dimension, and has a sill height of 48” or less above the floor.
  3. Check for working carbon monoxide detectors located within 10 feet of any sleeping area.
  4. Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.  Know how to use it.
  5. Make sure the building has a current “Certificate of Occupancy”.  To check this in Saint Paul, go to www.stpaul.gov/dsi, scroll to bottom of page, click “Property and Permit Information”.  Enter address.  Or call 651-266-8989.

Students with special needs should watch/listen to these videos:

             http://www.mingerfoundation.org/projects/fire-safety-info/videos/

 Resources: 



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