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University Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
University fire damage can be a major problem, depending on where the fire is located and what time of day it starts, along with the materials or personnel in the area that may be affected. News reports crop up every year detailing damage, injury, and even death occurring as a result of university fires. As with any case involving fire damage, the key to prevention is proper education and preparedness.
Dormitories are one of the prime locations of university fires, due in large part to the number of people living there as well as ongoing problems like overloaded electrical outlets, cooking in the rooms, residents smoking, and alcohol-related activities. In fact, alcohol is the number one cause of dormitory fires in the nation. Most dorm residents are also unaware and unfamiliar with fire safety protocols.
Dorms should be properly equipped with each floor having its own fire and smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and an evacuation plan that every resident is familiar with. Smoke detectors should have their batteries changed every six months or so and fire extinguishers should be regularly inspected and kept up to date.
Each dorm should have individuals on each floor responsible for fire safety, making sure that all fire alarms are in good working order, that fire extinguishers are available and ready for use, and knowing the evacuation plan for the dorm in case of a fire.
Rooms will need to be inspected for any fire hazards such as overloaded electrical outlets. There should be no more than two plugs per outlets and no more connections than there are corresponding plugs on any power strip. Also, cooking with hotplates is a common fire hazard and this should be discouraged in favor of microwaves in the rooms. Other cooking projects should be confined to areas designated for such. Some dorms have community kitchens where cooking may be done safely.
Evacuation plans should be set and fire drills should be conducted at least once a semester, with individuals responsible for going through the dorm and making sure everyone heard and heeded the alarm.
University faculty and staff should also be trained for the possibility of a fire occurring in the classroom or administrative offices. These areas should also be properly equipped with fire alarms and extinguishers.
All university residents and workers should know proper 911 procedures as well as how to give the address for the building or facility that is involved. Lack of 911 knowledge is one of the reasons that university fires can end up being worse than they had to be. The local fire department can be of invaluable service when it comes to educating students and faculty, as well as determining fire threats and helping to craft safe efficient evacuation procedures.
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