Fire Safety for College Students

Universities have a very specific set of rules about what students can have in their dorms – and it’s a short list when it comes to potential fire hazards. 

Fond du Lac Fire Chief Peter O’Leary points out that schools usually do a great job of setting up safety precautions for the large populations in residence halls – but students don’t always like to follow the rules. He says “I’ve seen some of the things that are altered, and there’s all kinds of things that can happen. Maybe they’re using candles or something like that in the room for ambiance – those things are all frowned upon and there are rules colleges give out to students and parents, but I want to make sure I’m in a sprinklered building.”

He also mentions that if you do have questions about a housing situation, to “contact your local fire department. Make sure there haven’t been issues
in that building and find out – if you were going to grade that college,
university or town, what grade would you give them?”

O’Leary also has a child heading off to school, and tells us “I want to make sure my child has a way out and understands there are
two ways out and to look for exits signs, exit lights, fire extinguishers.
Nobody ever thinks they’re going to have a fire. If you thought today was the
day you were going to get in a fire, you’d have every precaution you could have
ready so you’d be able to minimize that.”

O’Leary adds that rules are in place for a reason, and accidents can happen. On campus housing and fraternity housing are required to have extensive working sprinkler systems.