Fire Safety: Are You at Risk?

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Fire Safety from Smokey the Bear. Awareness prevents fires!

Due to the recent Rolling Green Apartment complex fire, I decided that a hard look at fire safety was in order. Fire safety is an underrated agenda for university students who often think, “’It won’t happen to me’ [according to] Chief Walter ‘Tim’ Nelson,” on amherstbulletin.com and as we have recently seen, the results of this outlook can be tragic. Below, I will share my findings on fire safety, particularly that relating to university students.

Off-campus students have an increased risk of fire related injury. Often, these students are first time renters or owners of their own property, thus leaving them vulnerable to the unfamiliarity of checking smoke detectors, or bearing the responsibility of buying fire extinguishers. For off-campus students, three of most common factors among fires are:

• Lack of automatic fire sprinklers
• Missing or disabled smoke alarms
• Careless disposal of smoking materials

On-campus students on the other hand are susceptible to factors such as:

• Improper use of 911 notification systems
• Student apathy—many students are unaware that fire is a risk or threat
• Fire alarms are often ignored
• Misuse of appliances, overloading electrical circuits, and extension cord use

According to the U.S. Fire Administration.

These factors are all either preventable or factors which we can prepare for by raising awareness. For example, in my research, I discovered that as a UMass Amherst student who dials 911, my call is directed to a dispatcher in Framingham, who must then evaluate my call and inform the appropriate police department in Amherst. Rather than wasting time by dialing 911 in case of emergency, if I dial the UMass police department directly, I will speed up the process, cutting out the middleman to my emergency help.

One of the most common factors that I discovered among my research of fire safety is awareness. Be conscious of your surroundings and do not take warning signs for-granted. If you see smoke, there is likely fire and as a precautious student, you should do everything in your power to alert those around you and evacuate the area then contacting emergency services as soon as you are a safe distance away.

Be mindful of these tips and I’ll update them as I discover more!

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