SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Office of the State Fire Marshal is reminding college students this month to practice fire safety for Campus Fire Safety Month. 

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, fires are most common in college dormitories in September and October. They are also the most common during the evening between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Since 2000, seven Illinois college students have died from a fire. 

Acting State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson said it’s important for students to ensure they are living in spaces with fire safety equipment, as he recognizes many students have not fire safety education since elementary school.  

“This is the first time many students are living away from home,” Simpson said. “Meaning it’s more important than ever for them to understand how to create a fire safety escape plan and practice that plan.” 

Simpson recommends the following fire safety tips for college students:

  • Look for housing on and off campus that is outfitted with working sprinklers.
  • Make sure you can hear the building’s fire alarm system.
  • Check to make sure all sleeping rooms and common areas have functioning smoke alarms. For optimal protection, all smoke alarms in the home should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Never remove batteries, disable or cover any smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly.
  • When the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm sounds, exit the building quickly and stay out until given instructions to return.
  • Create a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, especially if you live off-campus.
  • Learn the building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen when cooking.
  • Check with your local fire department, building management, or campus office before using a barbeque grill or fire pit.
  • Never overload electrical outlets and check with the school to make sure what electrical appliances are allowed.