Campus & Dorm Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association the number of reported fires in the dormitory occupancy group increased 3% from 3,200 in 1980 to 3,300 in 2005. In comparison, structure fires of all types declined 52% from 1980 to 2005.

Facts & Figures

  • In 2002 to 2005, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,300 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks. These fires caused an annual average of 7 civilian deaths, 46 civilian fire injuries, and $25 million in direct property damage. Note: Dormitories include school, college and university dormitories; fraternity and sorority houses; monasteries; bunk houses; barracks; and nurses’ quarters.
  • From 2002 to 2005, cooking equipment was involved in 72% of the reported dormitory fires; this includes confined or contained fires. Heating equipment was listed as the equipment involved in 2% of theses fires; an additional 2% were confined heating equipment fires.
  • Structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks are more common during the evening hours between 5 to 11 p.m., as well as on weekends

Campus & Dorm Fire Safety Tips

College and university students living away from home can practice safety behaviors to protect themselves and their belongings in a fire emergency.

  • 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. 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, draw a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and an outside meeting place. Practice the plan twice a year. Review the plan with overnight guests.
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
  • Burn candles only if the school permits their use.
  • A candle is an open flame and should be placed away from anything that can burn.
  • Never leave a candle unattended. Blow it out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • During a power outage, use a flashlight.
  • Make sure you have fresh batteries.
  • Smoke only where it is permitted, preferably outside the building.
  • Use sturdy, deep, non-tip ashtrays.
  • Don’t smoke in bed or when you’ve been drinking or are drowsy.
  • 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 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.