University Housing Fires
From 2005 to 2007, an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occurred annually in the United States. These fires accounted for less than one percent of residential building fires responded to by fire departments across the Nation.
These fires resulted in an average of approximately 5 deaths, 50 injuries, and $26 million in property loss each year. This topical report addresses the characteristics of university housing fires reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) between 2005 and 2007. University housing fires are considered to be fires in college and university residential buildings that include dormitories and fraternity and sorority houses.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports an increase in dormitory and university housing fires in recent years. Students are bringing more items from home to make their college stays more comfortable, including high-powered electronic equipment and appliances. However, the equipment can be dangerous when used improperly or left unsupervised, especially in dormitory rooms. The CPSC also reported that fires are more common during the evening hours and weekends when most students are in the residence halls. Most of the fires are cooking-related (hot plates, microwaves, portable grills, etc.), but the majority of deaths occur in bedrooms. In August 2007, the CPSC, the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the University of Maryland’s Fire Marshal urged students, families, and school administrators to be aware of the fire hazards and to take precautions.
Types of Fires
Building fires consist of two major categories of incidents: fires that are confined to specific types of equipment or objects (confined fires) and those that are not (nonconfined fires). Confined building fires are small fire incidents that are limited in scope, confined to noncombustible containers, rarely result in serious injury or large content losses, and expected to have no significant accompanying property losses due to flame damage.
Eighty-four percent of university housing fires are confined fires.
University housing fires have become the focus of increased attention within the State and Federal governments, local and State fire departments, affected neighborhoods and communities, and the criminal justice system. This is largely because they account for and cause injuries and deaths as well as property damage. An estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year in the United States. The challenge for communities and the fire service is to pinpoint the reasons why university housing fires occur and to address these issues to prevent future fires, deaths, injuries, and severe property damage. Providing students with fire safety education upon their arrival to the universities may help increase awareness and prevent fires.
Pratt takes fire safety serious and recommends that all student practice good fire safety. Please view the link below provided by the New York Department of State for comprehensive campus fire safety information.