Approximately seven students die and 47 more are injured each year in college dorm fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Worse, data suggests that the number of fires has been increasing. The new data triggered an alarm at CPSC, and the organization issued a public warning this week, as thousands of students head toward campus to begin the new academic year. According to CPSC, residence hall fires tend to occur during evenings and weekends. Most are cooking-related, although students are more likely to be killed by fires that originate in the bedroom. Frequently, the fires are attributed to misused cooking equipment such as microwaves or hot plates, or portable electronic devices that overcrowd wall outlets and electrical power strips. The organization offers these college housing fire safety tips to reduce your child’s risk of fire injury:
- "Cooking equipment causes 72% of dorm fires. Students should cook in designated areas only, and never leave cooking equipment unattended when in use.
- As far as deaths and injuries are concerned, most occur in sleeping areas, and are associated with smoking materials like tobacco products, candles, and incense. Always extinguish flames before leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Electrical products, portable heaters, and lighting such as halogen lamps are the source of many dorm fires. Keep combustibles away from heat sources and don’t overload electrical outlets, extension cords, and power strips.
- Take special care with holiday and seasonal decorations. Don’t use combustible materials and never block access to safety devices, doors, etc.
- Know your building’s evacuation plan in case something does go wrong.
- Don’t disable smoke alarms.
- Sign-up to receive automatic electronic e-mail notification announcements of recalls at www.cpsc.gov"
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