Valdosta Fire Department Urges College Students to Protect Themselves and their Peers During Campus Fire Safety Month
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021
The Valdosta Fire Department reminds us that September is Campus Fire Safety Month. The fall semester means college students are back on campus in new classes with new friends, and often new living spaces; NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are partnering up to help ensure those living spaces are as safe as possible through their Campus Fire Safety for Students campaign.
The campaign raises awareness about the threat of fire among college students in both on- and off-campus housing, and puts relevant information in the hands of parents, staff, and students, who are encouraged to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their peers against fire.
Valdosta is home to Valdosta State University, Georgia Military College and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Fire Chief Brian Boutwell stresses the importance of students keeping fire safety at the top of their mind. “We are excited to launch a campaign for Campus Fire Safety Month. This gives us the opportunity to remind students of fire safety practices and ensure they have the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves no matter where they live. Prevention is all about education, we want to help Valdosta students to have a successful and safe fall semester,” said Chief Boutwell.
According to NFPA research, from 2015-2019, there were estimated annual averages of 3,840 structure fires, 29 civilian injuries, and $11 million in direct property damage in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other related properties. Cooking equipment was involved in nearly nine out of 10 reported fires in dormitory-type properties (87 percent). September and October have the highest incidences for fires in dormitories, and fires are also more common during the weekend and weekday evenings from 5 – 9 p.m.
NFPA and CCFS offer these tips to students to help reduce the risk of fire and save lives:
Know and practice the building’s 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. Never block exit routes.