Fire safety

Know what to do in case of a fire

Get out alive

If you get caught in a fire situation, survival is your first priority.

  • Know two ways out.
  • Feel the door.
    1. If it’s hot - don’t open it. Instead, use your second way out, or go to a window and call for help.
    2. If it’s cool - stay low and open it slowly. Check for smoke and fire before going out.
  • Get out before calling 911.
  • If a fire alarm is available, pull it on the way out.
  • Keep the fire from spreading by closing the door behind you. You do NOT have time to do anything but escape.
  • Knock on doors and yell ”FIRE” as you leave.

Crawl low to the floor

Friends keep friends safe from fire-related hazards.

  • Thick smoke can make it impossible to see. Toxic chemicals in the smoke can become deadly in seconds.
  • Heat and smoke rise – the freshest, safest air is close to the floor. Even fire fighters crawl low.

What if you can’t get out?

  • Use your cell phone and call for help.
  • Try to get someone’s attention.
  • Close and seal your door to keep smoke out.
  • Hang or wave something from the window to get attention.
  • Yell out the window.

Do not ...

  • Do NOT search for others
  • Do NOT try to gather your things

Fire safety tips to share with friends

Practice kitchen fire safety

If a fire starts in your stove, toaster oven or microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit until the fire burns out. Do NOT use water on a grease fire – it only makes the fire worse and hot oil can splatter and burn you. If you’re sleepy or drowsy, don’t cook a meal that requires turning on appliances.

When the alarm sounds, get out

Fire doubles in volume every 30-60 seconds. In just a couple of minutes, an entire room or multiple rooms can be engulfed in flames and smoke. When the fire alarm sounds, get out of the building - FAST and NEVER, no matter what, delay or go back inside the building to get your things. Ask yourself, is a cell phone or computer more important than your life? No way. You can always buy a new cell phone, but you can't buy your life back.

Keep exits clear

We get it, there's not a lot of space in your dorm room or apartment but that doesn't mean you should store your bikes or suitcases or whatever in halls and stairwells - and especially NOT in front of exit doors. You need these areas free and clear so you can make a fast escape in case of a fire. If stuff is blocking your exits, you could easily get trapped inside the burning building.

Be choosy where you live

Smoke alarms and sprinkler systems save lives. When it comes time to look for housing, don't choose just ANY place. Check out a number of locations to make sure the room or apartment you want has WORKING smoke detectors installed. If you're looking on-campus, be sure your building has a fire sprinkler system.

Respect your smoke detector

Too many fire deaths have occurred when a smoke detector has been disabled. Always LEAVE the batteries in the smoke detector, NEVER undo the cover and DON'T take the smoke detector off the wall or ceiling. If you do, the detector can't warn you about a potential fire.

Stick to recommended wattage on light bulbs

When it comes to lamps, use light bulbs with the correct wattage. Replacing a bulb that has too-high a wattage, like using a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt fixture, can cause intense heat, melt the light socket and insulation on the fixture’s wires and cause a fire.

Don't cover your lamp with a scarf

Covering lamps with a scarf might look nice and create a great atmosphere in your room, but it’s also a huge fire problem. Put your hand over a lamp shade and feel the heat coming from the bulb. Now imagine a scarf resting on the lampshade. Keep all materials that can catch fire away from your lamps. If you’re looking for ambiance, check out our tip about flameless candles.

Use flameless candles

 Candles are one of the leading causes of fire in campus housing. Because of this, most colleges and universities won’t allow them in dorms. If you want to use candles off campus try FLAMELESS candles. They’re cheap, scented and come in a million shapes and colors. Buy them online or at your nearest Walmart, Target or pharmacy store.

Be power safe

 When you overload extension cords, power strips or outlets, you are also overloading the circuit, causing it to heat up and catch fire. And don’t even THINK about using a two-prong plug in a three-hole slot either, which not only can cause a fire, but can give you an electrical shock. Play it safe and use only the required number of slots in an outlet or power strip.

Turn off appliances

When you leave a room or apartment, ALWAYS turn off the stove, iron, curling irons and other appliances. Leaving these things “on” causes the appliance to overheat and spark a fire. Taking a couple seconds to hit the “off” switch will help keep your apartment and dorm room free of fire, and save your life and the life of your friends.

Clean dryer lint

Clothes dryers cause hundreds of injuries and too many deaths each year. It sounds silly but by cleaning the lint holder after every load, you reduce the chance lint can catch on fire.

Fire Safety Outreach provided by:

The Center for Campus Fire Safety Student Committee and the National Fire Protection Association