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Fire Damage in Universities
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
In the average university, there are enough activities occurring every day that could conceivably cause a fire, so it is a wonder we don't hear about this sort of thing happening more often. There are cafeterias preparing three meals a day for thousands of students; there are labs utilizing gas, burners, and chemicals for various experiments; and there are, of course, dormitories housing much of the student body, any one of which may cause a fire due to cooking, smoking, alcohol-related activities, or electrical system overload.
Factors in University Fires
Alcohol seems to be the predominant factor in most university fires. Alcohol impairs judgment as well as slows down response time. In the case of a fire, this could be fatal. Fires may also be triggered by cooking as well as smoking and arson caused by pranksters.
University fires are made all the worse by lackluster preparedness and lack of knowledge on the part of the student body when it comes to handling fire emergencies. Many students donít even know how to properly utilize emergency 911 services nor do they know the proper street address to give. As with most young people, there is also an "immortality" factor, believing that no harm will come to them and something like a fire could never happen to them.
As a result, fire alarms are often ignored, and when they are heeded, they are usually slow in response due to lack of planning and organization. Smoke alarms may also be damaged or inoperable meaning that a much needed alarm may be absent in the event of a fire.
Many students also ask way too much of their roomís electrical outlets, what with computers, TVs, stereos, hotplates, and hair dryers all vying for electrical current, the occasional overload is inevitable. A sizeable percentage of dormitory fires are caused by electrical issues.
Providing Fire Education
Universities should take a proactive role in preparing their students for such an eventuality, educating them on fire safety and prevention. They should be taught the proper use of the 911 system as well as how to trigger fire alarms and handle fire extinguishing equipment. Smoke alarms should be installed in every room on every level and the batteries checked every two or three months.
Universities should conduct regular inspections for fire hazards and consider including a fine for violations. A financial implication will go a long way towards making students aware that this is serious business. Your local fire department can be of service to you in the area of proper inspection.
Conduct fire drills as needed and express the importance of these drills. Make sure they are aware of floor plans, emergency exits, and evacuation routes.