Last week, we took a look at how the University of North Carolina (UNC) works closely with the fire marshal, housing department, and Resident Advisors (RA’s) to keep campus fire safety in the forefront as students return to dorms in late August and early September, as this time tends to be the worst time of year for fatal campus-related housing fires, according to the Center for Campus Fire Safety.

UNC certainly isn’t the only university making strides to keep students, faculty and staff safe on and off campus. Check out your own school’s calendar for events, and check in with the health and safety departments to learn more about how your school is promoting fire safety awareness. But, in the meantime, here are a few fire safety tips to help students who are still figuring out how to live safely on their own:

For students in dorms

Congratulations on moving out of Mom and Dad’s house! Chances are they stayed on top of the fire precautions during your childhood, so it’s time to start thinking about these things on your own.

  • Keep an eye on anything you cook. Whether it’s popcorn in your room or scrambled eggs in the kitchen down the hall, don’t ever walk away from something you’re cooking.
  • Pay attention to posters and bulletin boards, and take rules seriously. The “no smoking in the dorms” rule isn’t just a friendly suggestion.
  • Know where the nearest fire extinguisher is.
  • Always be sure to unplug things like hot plates and curling irons before leaving the dorm.
  • Avoid candles and other sources of flame. With comforters hanging off the side of lofted beds, towels draped over doorknobs and jackets thrown on the backs of desk chairs, that pumpkin-scented canhqdefaultdle could engulf the room before you know it.
  • Keep curtains, bedding, towels and clothing several feet away from the heating vent.

For students in apartments

You’re out of the shoe box-sized dorm and finally in a place that feels like your own. Now that you don’t have an RA checking in and enforcing rules like no smoking in the bathroom and no bonfires, in addition to everything you had to keep in mind while in the dorm more of the responsibility is on you.

  • Test your smoke detectors regularly. You don’t want to learn the hard way that the batteries are dead.
  • Make note of who’s living in the units around you, and don’t ignore any smells of smoke coming from next door. Just because it doesn’t set off your own smoke detector doesn’t mean it’s not close enough to put you in danger.
  • Talk to your roommates about an emergency evacuation plan.

We hope that you found this information. Best wishes for a great year!