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Hochul encourages college students & municipalities to educate themselves on campus fire safety


Thu, Sep 23rd 2021 12:00 pm

Governor recognizing September as ‘Campus Fire Safety Month’; focuses on fire safety & prevention early during fall semester

√ Installation of fire detection & suppression systems ‘critical’ in providing early warning and saving lives

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday issued a proclamation declaring September as "Campus Fire Safety Month," which aims to educate the public about the dangers of campus-related housing fires across New York. With many of the state's colleges and universities beginning classes over the past two weeks, Hochul urged New Yorkers – especially students and renters – to take in their surroundings and evaluate their residences for fire safety measures.

"Now that New York's college students are settled in, I encourage them to take time ahead of the winter months to ensure they are living in a fire-safe environment, no matter if they are staying in on- or off-campus housing," Hochul said. "Taking a few small steps to educate yourself and your roommates about fire safety can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation."

Read the proclamation.

Acting State Fire Administrator James B. Cable said, "Fire safety, whether it be on or off campus, should be a primary concern for anyone living in, visiting or renting on or near college campuses across the state. Taking small steps such as identifying two ways out of a room and ensuring smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and working throughout the residence can go a long way toward preventing potential fire-related injury or death."

Hochul’s team said, nationwide, about 94% of fatal college student fires occurred off-campus, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. While many colleges and universities have varying levels of alarms, fire sprinklers, and training provided for on-campus residents, students living off-campus are largely left to personal responsibility for their safety.

Working smoke alarms were either missing or tampered with in 58% of fatal campus fires. About 73% of fatal campus fires occurred between midnight and 6 a.m.; 70% on the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

To help prevent these incidents, the state is providing some important items to evaluate fire safety measures for campus-related housing.

Prevent the fire in the first place:

√ Cook only in approved areas and never ever leave cooking unattended, even briefly. Cooking is a major cause of student-involved fires.

√ Arson is the No. 2 cause of campus fires. It isn't a prank or a thrill, it's a crime.

√ Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable light and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps.

√ Smoking, candles and other open flame items should never be used in student housing.

√ Seek fully sprinkled housing. Fire sprinklers control a fire and provide lifesaving time for escape.

√ Know and practice the building's evacuation plan, as well as alternate routes. If living off-campus, create and practice a fire escape plan. Know two ways out.

√ Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or a house. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. Whether on or off-campus, never remove or disable smoke alarms.

√ Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris. Never block exit routes.

For more information on campus-related fire safety in New York, visit the Office of Fire Prevention and Control website.

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control delivers services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York. The office is part of the larger New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, which provides 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 Instagram, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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