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Increase in college dorm fires prompts officials to issue warning

  • Published
  • By the Fire Prevention Office
  • 36th Civil Engineer Squadron
As young adults leave the comforts of home for the first time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns about the dangers of fires in housing such as dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks. 

According to National Fire Protection Association data, the estimated number of fires in campus-style housing has risen dramatically in recent years, from a low of 1,800 fires in 1998 to 3,300 fires in 2005. From 2000 through 2005 there were 39 deaths and nearly 400 injuries in college housing facilities. 

Although the statistics do not reflect Air Force dormitories it is important that Airmen pay a great deal of attention to these trends. 

The CPSC's warning can be applied to residents living in military dorms Air Force-wide and it is imperative that everyone follow local fire prevention policies to ensure a safe living environment. 

By ensuring local safety policies are adhered to Airmen can continue to pursue the Air Force's goal of zero deaths, zero fire-related injuries and zero property loss.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that cooking equipment (hot plates, microwaves, portable grills, etc.), cause 72 percent of dorm fires. However, most deaths occur in sleeping areas and are associated with smoking materials like tobacco products, candles, and incense. 

To reduce the loss of life and injury from fire, smoking and the use of candles or incense are prohibited in all government facilities including dormitories on Andersen AFB.  All cooking devices, except microwaves, are also restricted from being used in dorm rooms. 

Here are some other safety guidelines:
- keep combustibles 18 inches from lights
- do not overload electrical outlets 
- take special care with holiday and seasonal decorations. 

Fire safety should always be a high priority and in dormitory type occupancies it is imperative that everybody does their part. 

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7 to 13, so let's take some extra time to review fire safety issues in our home and at work.

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