Student ChecklistParent Checklist

All colleges and universities must comply with local fire codes, but these codes vary by municipality. Check with your resident assistant (RA) or housing office to see what type of fire safety measures are in place, and review the escape plan.

Fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks are more common during the evening hours, between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., as well as on weekends.

In 2003-2006 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 3,570 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and barracks.


In addition:

  • Review the fire safety language in your housing contract.
  • Never leave cooking unattended – Cook your dinner not your date! Check out safe-t-element® to help prevent cooking fires before they start.
  • Install microwave sensors. Check out safe-t-sensor™ which shuts the microwave off at the first sign of smoke.
  • Use battery powered candles-never real ones.
  • Watch that butt!!! Smoke outside the building. Improper disposal or from falling asleep can cause fire.
  • Have an escape plan; most fires occur at night when you are asleep.
  • Know (at least) 2 ways out. Find the exits in your building so they will be familiar to you.
  • Check the door with the back of your hand to see if it is hot.  If the door is cool, open the door slowly to check for smoke.  If the hallway is clear, close your door behind you and get out. 
  • If the door feels hot, stay where you are.  Put towels under the door to block smoke.  Call 911 with your location.  Hang a white sheet or towel out the window to get rescuers’ attention and signal your need for rescue. 
  • GET OUT AND STAY OUT - Evacuate and check in with housing every time the alarm sounds.
  • Leave smoke detectors and sprinkler heads alone. They should not be obstructed by items on the ceiling.
  • Use light bulbs that match the wattage on the lamp. Halogen lamps contain super hot gas that can quickly ignite (Please read the boxes and labels of desk top study lamps.  Many of them are now halogen and have contributed to fires in residence halls).
  • Never store flammable liquids in your room.
  • Keep your exit path clear of obstructions at all times.  Report obstructed stairwells and hallways to building managers
  • Check you electrical cords on computers, monitors, televisions and all other appliances for damage – replace if they show any cracks.  Never run power cords under rugs or tack them to walls.
  • Ask buildings managers if you have any questions about your safety.  They’ll have the right answers for you.

In Case of a Fire

  • If you have fire in your room, Get Out!  It only takes 30 seconds for the smoke and heat to render you unconscious and unable to escape.
  • Close your door to keep the fire from spreading.
  • Yell “FIRE” on your way out.  Pull a fire alarm ONLY if it is on your way out.
  • Use an extinguisher only if you know how.  If you decide to use an extinguisher, remember: have an exit behind you and use on small fires only (the size of a wastebasket). If you have to stop and read the extinguisher directions, just get out!
  • Call 911 - give good details about the location of your room, etc.
  • If you are trapped and cannot evacuate, wait for fire personnel to rescue you.  Do not attempt to jump!

For more information:

Campus Fire Safety
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