September 1, 2015
Over the past few weeks, we all probably know someone and/or a family that has transitioned to the college life. Whether that person is a son, daughter, niece, nephew or other family member or friend, this transition can be a very difficult time for all parties. Beyond the academic challenges that every college student faces – class schedules, choosing the best major or deciding the next internship, there is also the living arrangements that every student faces as well.
Everyone usually downloads a list supplied by the University that outlines what the student should bring to campus or their apartment. While this list of items can be daunting, the searching and purchasing of the items can also be fun and exciting for the parent and the student. Move in day comes and the dorm room or apartment bedroom gets decorated to the likes of the student — it all looks amazing on that first day! Everything is organized and placed for a professional photo shoot or at least a picture to share on social media by all family members.
One of the most important areas that a student can focus on is fire safety. We all take fire safety for granted – there are fire alarms, there are sprinklers in most modern buildings, there is NO SMOKING allowed in buildings or for that matter within a specific distance away from the building. In addition to these, many of us have never been subjected to a fire – so we don’t think about. However, with all of these precautions, why do we still have fires on college campuses?
The data supplied by The Center for Campus Fire Safety is alarming:
The Center for Campus Fire Safety – Fire Fatality Data
From January 2000 to present
89 fatal fires have been documented that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or in off-campus housing within 3-miles of the campus – claiming a total of 126 victims:
• 76 fires have occurred in off-campus housing claiming 107 victims
• 7 fires have occurred in on-campus building or residence halls claiming 9 victims
• 6 fires have occurred in Greek housing claiming 10 victims
Of the 89 fires documented:
• 14 were intentionally set claiming 22 victims
• 38 were accidental – includes cooking, candles, smoking or electrical claiming 51 victims
• 37 of the fires the cause was never determined – or the cause was not available at press time. These fires claimed 53 victims.
In order to increase the awareness of fire safety and to NOT take it for granted, the month of SEPTEMBER has been designated as CAMPUS FIRE SAFETY MONTH. As outlined by the The Center for Campus Fire Safety website, “Campus Fire Safety Month was first proclaimed by CCFS in 2005, and was formalized nationally in 2007 when both the House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate passed resolutions recognizing September as Campus Fire Safety Month. CCFS is pleased with this success and are now organizing the Campus Fire Safety Month Network with our association members and sponsors. This CFSM Network will serve as a focal point to unite fire and university officials nationwide as we work toward improving fire and life safety on campus.”
(Library of Congress, Thomas Locator).
I would encourage everyone to visit the website http://www.campusfiresafety.org/Home.aspx and learn more about the various tools and resources available for students, parents, faculty and staff to increase awareness for all. Never make assumptions – always be aware and most importantly – LETS PREVENT FIRES and SAVE LIVES!
Ron Poff – Director, Global Marketing and Brands
Global Marketing Office
2020 Kraft Drive, Suite 3003
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Source: The Center for Campus Fire Safety website. Retrieved from http://www.campusfiresafety.org/TrainingActivities/CampusFireSafetyMonth/CFSMHistory.aspx on September 1, 2015.