Fires occur in our institutes of higher learning every year. Know how to best protect your children while they earn their education away from home.
University fires have been on the increase over the past couple of years, and with more and more schools making an attempt to support increased numbers of students, the likelihood for this kind of a trouble raises almost exponentially. Throw into the mix an abundance of cooking gadgets, home appliances, electrical items, smoking, and alcohol and there are any quantity of resources from which a fire might start out.
Alcohol is the principal culprit, responsible for most of the fires taking place on any given campus. Along with impairing judgment and triggering people to engage in risky behavior, alcohol also slows down response time and, in the event of a fire, that’s undesirable. Fires are also commonly caused by cooking mishaps as well as smoking and practical jokes involving arson.
Most student bodies are woefully unprepared to cope with fire emergencies. Many have never had to summon emergency response services before and many ignore safety warnings or lectures due to the mistaken belief that they will never be a victim of fire. Fire alarms are routinely ignored and those who do respond do so slowly, without much enthusiasm or interest. These drills are not always effectively planned, resulting in questionable effectiveness. Smoke alarms are also triggered as a part of pranks with such regularity that when an actual fire happens, it becomes a literal boy-who-cried-wolf scenario, with little or no reaction when it is needed the most.
A visit to any given dorm room will reveal some incredible examples of how not to wire up your appliances, with the limited power outlets asked to take care of far more than their share of wattage. Computers, TVs, stereos, hair dryers, cooking appliances, etc. If you link up that much to one outlet, some thing has to give.
Universities can stop much of this by taking a more proactive role in the education of their college students as it pertains to fire risks. Every student should be able to manage a 911 call and wield a fire extinguisher if they need to. The school should invest in smoke alarms for each and every level of each dorm, and have a plan in place for regular testing and battery replacement.
Have inspections for fire hazards, with fines in place for those who violate the rules. Taking some money out of a student’s already meager budget will push the point home. Your local fire department can be of support to you with correct inspections.
Schedule fire drills as required, preferably at odd hours of the night, and make certain that students know the relevance of these drills. Familiarize them with floor layouts, emergency exits, and evacuation routes.
School must be a safe place for our children, and by delivering a little judicious education on the topic of fire, they can be safe all through their learning process.