NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety raise student awareness of fire hazards in on- and off-campus housing during September and October

August 30, 2017 – September is Campus Fire Safety Month and this year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) are working together to promote their national “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign. The campaign raises awareness about the dangers of fires among college-aged students who live in on- and off-campus college housing.

According to NFPA’s latest report, “Structure Fires in Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities and Barracks,” between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 4,100 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and other related properties. Approximately seven in 10 (72 percent) of fires in these properties began in the kitchen or cooking area, accounting for 44 percent of civilian injuries and 14 percent of direct property damage. The report also states that fires are more common between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. and on weekends; September and October were the peak months for fires in dormitories.

"As college students settle into housing in dorms and off-campus apartments, it’s important they review fire safety tips to learn how to prevent fires, check smoke alarms and prepare escape plans,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Staying in the kitchen when cooking, using flameless candles, and not overloading electrical outlets and power strips are all vital steps to reducing injuries and loss of life.”

The campaign provides a host of resources for students, parents and fire safety educators that focus on fire safety in college housing. The resources have been designed for sharing via social media, on college websites, and for posting in dorms and on common area bulletin boards. They include:

  • Videos
  • Checklists
  • Tip sheets
  • Infographics and flyers
  • Posters
Michael J. Swain, president of The Center for Campus Fire Safety, says encouraging students to share this information with their peers will send a strong fire safety message that will be remembered going forward. “With the beginning of the school year,” he said, “The Center continues its mission to make campuses and off-campus housing safer for students.”

During the 2016/2017 school year, two students lost their lives in off-campus housing. From 2000 through mid-August 2017, The Center states that 128 students died in 91 fires on college campuses, in Greek housing, or in privately owned off-campus housing within three miles of the campus. Of the 91 fires, 78 of them occurred in off-campus housing.

According to Tim Knisely, a director of The Center and program manager for the organization’s Off-Campus Fire & Life Safety Alliance group, “Students living off-campus have always been the most difficult to reach but we’ve made progress in the last 10 years,” he said. “Still, there’s a great deal of work to be done as a large number of residence halls and dormitories lack modern fire protection equipment such as fire alarm systems, bedroom smoke alarms and sprinklers. The Campus Fire Safety for Students campaign is one way we’re addressing this problem.”

Learn more about campaign and find resources for students, parents and fire safety educators at www.nfpa.org/campus and www.campusfiresafety.org.

This release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, can be found at the NFPA press room.

About the Center for Campus Fire Safety
The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) is a non-profit 501C3 organization. The Center is a member-based organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire on and off campuses. The mission of The Center is to serve as an advocate for the promotion of campus fire safety. The Center serves as the focal point for the efforts of a number of organizations and also as a clearinghouse for information relating to campus fire safety. Visit us at www.campusfiresafety.org for more information. 

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617 984-7275