As student's head back for another year at Illinois colleges and universities, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) encourages students and parents to make fire safety a top priority. Governor
Pritzker has signed a proclamation marking September “Campus Fire Safety Month
Illinois is among numerous other states nationwide participating in a campaign run by Campus Firewatch, an online publication working to improve fire safety at schools. This is the 14th year Illinois has participated in the campaign which is designed to raise awareness on campuses about fire and life safety. The goal is to help prevent common campus fires and reduce fire hazards. According to Campus Firewatch, 87% of college-related fire fatalities have happened in off-campus housing, where most students live. Since January 2000, at least 175 people, including students, parents and children have died in college-related fires with 7 of those fatalities occurring in Illinois.
"College students sometimes haven't received fire safety education since elementary school and now that they are on their own, it's more important than ever they are prepared. Campus Fire Safety Month is a reminder for students that fires do happen on and off campus and aims to teach students how to protect themselves if fire affects their campus homes," says Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.
OSFM encourages schools, universities, colleges and local municipalities across Illinois to provide educational fire safety outreach programs to all students, not just in September, but through out the entire school year. This is also a good time for schools, universities, colleges and local municipalities to evaluate the level of fire safety being provided in both on and off-campus student housing and take the proper steps to ensure fire-safe living environments.
Here are some fire safety tips and ways to help keep students safe when choosing a residence:
Look for housing on and off campus that has sprinklers.
Make sure that you can hear the building's fire alarm system.
Check to make sure all sleeping rooms and common areas have functioning smoke alarms. For optimal protection, all smoke alarms in the home should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
Test all smoke alarms at least monthly.
If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
Learn the building's evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
When the smoke alarm or CO alarm sounds, exit the building quickly and stay out until given instructions to return.
If you smoke, smoke outside and only in designated areas.
Never leave the kitchen when cooking.
Check with your local fire department, building management or campus office before using a barbeque grill or fire pit.
Never overload electrical outlets and check with the school to make sure what electrical appliances are allowed.