Illinois State Fire Marshal: Take steps to keep campuses safe in case of fire

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — September is dedicated to helping members of campus communities stay safe in case of a fire.

“This month serves as a good reminder for schools, universities, colleges and local municipalities to join together and evaluate the level of fire safety being provided in both on and off-campus student housing,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “It’s important that all the proper steps are being taken to ensure fire-safe living environments are available for students.”

Officials with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said fires in student housing “cause an average of one death, 32 injuries, and $15 million dollars in property damage each year.” Three out of four fires start in the kitchen. At least 175 people–including students, parents and children–have died in a college-related fire; seven of those happened in Illinois.

Schools, colleges, universities and municipalities are encouraged to have fire safety outreach programs for all students in their communities. The fire marshal’s office also has a few tips for students when it comes to picking out their residence:

  • Look for on/off campus that has sprinklers.
  • Make sure you can hear the fire alarm in your building.
  • Check that all rooms have working smoke alarms.
  • Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly
  • If you live in off-campus housing, find at least two ways out of every room.
  • When the smoke or CO alarm sounds, quickly leave the building and stay out until instructed otherwise.
  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking.

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