If you are living on campus, many campuses will have a list of acceptable and unacceptable items to bring to your dorm room. Items on the unacceptable list, like candles, open heating elements, and halogen lamps, are there because they create a risk for fire. When you arrive, your campus will provide you with some fire safety information. It is up to you to learn where the emergency call boxes or alarms and fire extinguishers are located. Identify two exit options from your room and pay attention to the same in classroom buildings. Keep the following in mind:
- Check with your campus about cloth wall hangings. If permitted, don’t hang them over any smoke detectors and sprinkler heads.
- Use power strips and surge protectors with an automatic shut off so you don’t overload an outlet.
- Don’t “daisy chain” extension cords by plugging one into another to create a longer cord.
- Don’t run extension cords under carpet or other fabric.
- Don’t tamper with fire equipment. Many campuses have strong policies against this, and you put the entire community at risk.
- If you hear the fire alarm, leave, even if you think it is a drill. Your RA will go over the appropriate meeting spots during fire alarms with you.
- Bring microwave-safe cookware for heating up quick meals in your room.
- If you have a kitchen, don’t cook anything unattended. Keep a lid handy in case your meal flares up so you can quickly smother it and make sure you store anything flammable like cooking oil away from heat sources.
Students living off campus should consult the Campus Firewatch Off-Campus Safety Checklist [pdf] to help determine the safety of your apartment. Consult with your landlord or management company if your space does not meet these requirements. Also check to make sure that the batteries in smoke detectors are changed regularly and extinguishers are up-to-date.