HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — September is “Campus Fire Safety Month,” which means focusing on proactive measures, rather than reactive ones.
Between 2013 and 2016, the National Fire Protection Association says local fire departments responded to an average of 4,070 structure fires in residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, and apartment complexes.
Now, the NFPA and the Center for Campus Safety are encouraging students, on and off campus, to be proactive and aware of fire safety tips to stay safe and reduce the risk of a fire.
Those tips are the following:
- Know and practice your buildings evacuation plan, as well as alternate routes.
- Cook in intended areas only, and never leave cooking equipment unattended when in use, even briefly.
- 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. NEVER remove or disable smoke alarms.
- 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.
- Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris.
Lt. Tony Bowen, the Deputy Fire Marshal at the Huntington Fire Department, stresses that students should never plug appliances into power strips or extension cords. Items like microwaves, toaster ovens, and humidifiers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.
“We do a free install, we’ll come in and install smoke detectors,” said Lt. Bowen. “Always be aware they’re running strictly off batteries. We always recommend that when the clocks change, always change your batteries.”
The NFPA says the likelihood of a fire is much greater on weekends and on weekdays from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Residence halls have the highest number of fires in September and October.