Each year, on-and-off campus college and university students experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. Here is everything you need to know about campus fire safety!


  • Location: 94 percent of fatal campus fires occurred off-campus.
  • Cause: Smoking (29 percent) was the leading cause of fatal campus fires.
  • Factors: Alcohol was a factor in 76 percent of fatal campus fires. Smoke alarms were either missing or tampered with (disconnected or battery removed) in 58 percent of fatal campus fires.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

What to Know About Prevention

Fire Safety for Students

  • 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 for 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.

Watch & Share Video

Quick Tips on Campus Fire Safety

Here are helpful graphics about keeping your student safe from fires. Click the image to enlarge. We encourage you to print and also share on social media.

Source for Content: United States Fire Administration