The National Fire Protection Association urges students returning to campuses around the country and their parents to take the time to educate themselves on life-saving fire safety information.
A leading cause of campus fires is cooking, with cooking equipment involved in 75 percent of the reported dormitory fires. Although only five percent of fires in campus housing began in the bedroom, these fires accounted for 62 percent of the deaths and (26 percent) of the injuries.
While only two percent of the structure fires were caused by smoking materials, they were responsible for 39 percent of the deaths.
NFPA offers the following safety tips for campus fire safety:
*Be Prepared for a Fire
Make sure your dormitory or apartment has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level. For the best protection, all smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds they all sound. Test all smoke alarms at least monthly. Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room. Windows with security bars, grills, and window guards should have emergency release devices. When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out. Smoke is toxic. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
If you can't get out, close the door and seal vents and cracks around doors with towels or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or the fire department. *Smoking
To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. If you smoke, smoke outside or in an area designated by your college dormitory. Never smoke in bed. Before going to bed, check under furniture cushions and other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
Cook only where it is permitted. Stay in the kitchen when cooking.
Cook only when you are alert. Plug microwave ovens or other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Check electrical cords for cracks, breaks, damage, or overheating. Use only microwave-safe cookware.
Burn candles only if the school permits their use. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow it out when you leave the room or go to sleep. Always use a flashlight -- not a candle -- for emergency lighting.
Check your school's rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Use a surge protector for your computer and plug the protector directly into an outlet.
Students and parents - better safe than sorry.