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Campus Fire Safety Outreach Materials

The U.S. Fire Administration reviews and collects resources that can be used in public outreach activities to keep college students safe from on- and off-campus housing fires. Explore these materials to learn more about discussing fire safety with students, their parents, and campus housing administrators and staff.

Digital media library

Here you’ll find social media content, pictographs, stock photos, videos and b-roll to increase awareness about campus fire safety.

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campus fire safety

Statistics to share

From January 2000 to May 2015, there were 85 fatal fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and off-campus housing, resulting in 118 fatalities — an average of approximately seven per school year.

Location of fatal campus fires (2000-2015)

94 percent of fatal campus fires occurred off-campus.

Causes of fatal campus fires (2000-2015)

Smoking (29 percent) was the leading cause of fatal campus fires.

Alcohol as a factor in fatal campus fires (2000-2015)

Alcohol was a factor in 76 percent of fatal campus fires.

Working smoke alarms in fatal campus fires (2000-2015)

Smoke alarms were either missing or tampered with (disconnected or battery removed) in 58 percent of fatal campus fires.

Additional statistics

Campus Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2000-2015)

Report audience: college and university fire and safety officials, fire and emergency service organizations

This report presents findings from a study that looked at data from fatal campus fires and the fatalities that resulted from them. Factors leading to the fire deaths of college students are highlighted to help officials plan programs that will prevent fire injuries and deaths on college campuses in the future.

Download the report PDF 2.8 MB

campus fire fatalities report cover

Outreach materials from the U.S. Fire Administration

Free handouts

Download these free handouts on preventing on- and off-campus fires to reproduce and distribute in your community.

Safety tips to share with students

There are several specific causes for fires in on- and off-campus college housing, including cooking, candles, smoking and overloaded power strips. For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students know their fire risks and prevention actions that could save their lives.

Cook only where it is allowed.
Keep your cooking area clean and free of anything that can burn.
Keep an eye on what you are cooking, especially if you are cooking at high temperatures.
If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
Place candles in sturdy holders.
Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Keep candles away from anything that can burn.
Use safe flameless candles.
Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarettes butts or ashes in the trash can.
Use deep, wide ashtrays. Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to burn.
After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.
Don’t smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.
Electrical safety
Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
Never use an extension cord with large appliances, like a refrigerator.
Do not overload outlets.
Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection.

Safety tips to share with colleges and universities

  • Provide students with a program for fire safety and prevention.
  • Teach students how to properly notify the fire department using the 911 system.
  • Install smoke alarms and an automatic fire sprinkler system in every dormitory room and every level of housing facilities.
  • Maintain and regularly test smoke alarms and fire alarm systems. Replace smoke alarm batteries every semester.
  • Regularly inspect rooms and buildings for fire hazards. Ask your local fire department for assistance.
  • Inspect exit doors and windows and make sure they are working properly.
  • Create and update detailed floor plans of buildings, and make them available to emergency personnel, resident advisors and students.
  • Conduct fire drills and practice escape routes and evacuation plans. Urge students to take each alarm seriously.
See It Before You Sign It

Help remind parents that safe off-campus housing includes working smoke alarms and two ways out. Spread the word about “See It Before You Sign It.”

This campaign encourages parents to visit an off-campus house or apartment, with a focus on fire safety, before signing a lease. Information includes a video public service announcement, fire statistics, and an off-campus housing fire safety checklist.

Fire sprinklers + working smoke alarms increase your chance of surviving a home fire by more than 82%! #OffCampusFireSafety

This campaign is sponsored by Campus Firewatch, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Fire Protection Association, and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Outreach materials from other organizations

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends the following organizations as trusted and reliable sources for free outreach materials you can use to help increase awareness about campus fires in your community.

Additional resources on campus fire safety