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Fires on Campus: Risks and Prevention

April 5, 2012

Mircom Fire Alarm Horn/Strobe

Did you know that there are about 3,800 university housing fires every year? That’s about one fire per U.S. campus. Fires in the dorms are more common than you think and can often be easily preventable. “A leading cause of fires on campus is cooking, with cooking equipment being involved in 75% of the reported dorm fires.”

Campus fires are scary because not only do you run the risk of losing your precious personal items, but you run the risk of losing your health or even your life. Bedroom fires on campus accounted for 62% of the civilian deaths and 26% of the civilian injuries. It’s important to recognize the risks in your dorm room for fires and how to practice fire safety by following campus rules and taking fire drills and practices seriously.

The risks on campus for fires often come with you in your own suitcase when you move into your dorm. Candles, extension cords, and kitchen appliances are some of the biggest causes of dorm fires, so it’s best to follow campus policies and leave these items at home.

Candles might seem romantic or decorative, but it’s risky to use them during our busy lifestyles as college students. When you’re busy thinking about schoolwork, group activities, or the social activities coming up this weekend, it’s easy to leave your room with lit candles inside. Flameless candles are great alternatives and usually look just like real candles, but without the risk.

If extension cords aren’t grounded (if they don’t look like surge protectors) then they run the risk of starting a fire. Be sure to remember to turn off your stove and oven if you have an apartment. Even if you don’t have an apartment, being careful in the kitchen or when using kitchen appliances are safety musts. During my freshman year, we often had fire alarms go off because people in our building forgot to use water in their Easy Mac or burned popcorn. Don’t be “that person”!

While practicing the tips above to prevent fires is great, you can never control what those that live around you will do. Especially if your dorm is a large complex or tower, you could have over 100 people living around you. Those other people are just some of the reasons that it’s important to have backup methods for protecting your personal property in your dorm room. Renters insurance can be one easy and affordable way to do this.

Renters insurance from GradGuard can help cover the direct physical loss to your personal property if it’s damaged by a fire. Damages caused by fire, explosion, smoke, and accidental burning of certain appliances could be covered, so check out the options here to ensure you’re covered in the case of a fire in your dorm.

*Sources:

http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v10i1.pdf

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