For Immediate Release
July 17, 2017

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Urges Parents to Discuss Campus Fire Safety with College Bound Students

OFPC will visit the state’s private and public colleges and universities to conduct inspections and education programs throughout the State

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today urged parents to discuss campus fire safety with their college-bound son or daughter before the student goes to college later this summer. Almost 4,000 structure fires occur annually in dormitories, fraternities and sororities across the U.S., and the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control says that every student and parent must discuss fire prevention steps a student can take to be safe before they go to school, as well as understand potential fire dangers when making housing selections and knowing how to exit a building in a fire emergency.

 

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control also urged parents to make informed decisions when selecting furniture, electronics and other items for a student’s college dormitory room.  Items such as halogen lamps, candles, ceiling decorations, extension cords and small appliances can contribute to dorm room fires if improperly used or unmonitored.  Look for flame resistant materials when choosing items to furnish dorm rooms and off campus housing.

 

“Campus fire safety awareness is one of the most important topics that the Office of Fire Prevention and Control raises each year to make students and parents aware of potential campus fire dangers, said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Roger L. Parrino, Sr.  “New York’s robust campus fire safety program, which includes making fire inspections at each college campus in the state, helps ensure that students, faculty and staff are safe from fire danger. Students must remember that fire safety starts by taking personal responsibility to ensure a fire never starts in the first place.”

 

When selecting college housing, the Office of Fire Prevention and Control offers these tips:

  • Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
  • 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.
  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
  • If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
  • During a power outage, use a flashlight. Never use candles.
  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking.
  • Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine or alcohol.
  • Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or chimenea.
  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
  • Use a surge protector for your computer and plug the protector directly into an outlet.

 

OFPC staff, in partnership with local fire officials, has provided campus fire safety education to more than 300,000 individuals across the state over the past ten years. OFPC classes are now often part of mandatory RA training at the beginning of each school year. The classes often include hands-on components of evacuation from a smoke-filled corridor, fire sprinkler demonstrations, and simulated room inspections for fire hazards.

 

Last year, OFPC conducted over 18,000 fire safety inspections at public and private colleges in New York State. In addition to conducting campus inspections and education programs for RAs, OFPC also holds ‘campus fire safety awareness day’ at colleges across the state. Using a fun and interesting, hands-on format, these fire safety education days include use of the OFPC fire safety house for smoke evacuation simulation and fire sprinkler demonstrations, as well as remarks on fire safety from college presidents, elected officials, fire chiefs, OFPC officials and burn survivors. The highlight of these events includes a live fire, mock dorm room burn that dramatically demonstrates the speed, heat and deadly smoke of fire.

 

“Campus fire safety really begins with a frank discussion between parents and the student before that student leaves home for college,” said State Fire Administrator Skip Nerney. “Fire is predictable and preventable. Every student must make choices that help prevent fires from starting in the first place and, if a fire occurs, to know how to exit a building immediately without second thought.”

 

Upcoming campus fire safety awareness day events include training presentations and seminars at the State’s colleges with their Residence Life Leaders at the start of each school year and events including:

 

  • Albany College of Pharmacy Fire Safety Day on August 25
  • Siena College Fire Safety Day on September 8
  • Dutchess County Community College Safety Day on October 3

 

Campus fire safety tips:

 

  • Always know two ways out. Whether in a residence hall, off-campus housing, at an event or night out or party, always plan your escape
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly, or follow your building evacuation plan, and stay out
  • Cook only where it is permitted and never leave cooking unattended
  • Check your lamps. Don’t exceed the maximum wattage and monitor for overheating
  • Make sure there is a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm nearby
  • Never remove batteries or disable the alarm   
  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room

 

About the Office of Fire Prevention and Control:

 

OFPC delivers a wide breadth of services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York. The Office advances public safety through firefighter training, education, fire prevention, investigative, special operations and technical rescue programs. The timely delivery of these essential services enables the Office to make significant contributions to the safety of all of New York State. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov/ofpc.

 

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

 

DHSES and its four offices – Emergency Management, Fire Prevention and Control, and Interoperable and Emergency Communications, and Counter Terrorism – provide leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

 

 

 

 

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