5 Fire Safety Tips for Dorm Room Living

A dorm room.

Many college students are too busy studying, or doing other things, to really think about fire safety in their dorm rooms. However, it is something that every college student should think about. Following some basic, commonsense fire safety rules will help you avoid the possibility of a fire.

Keep Things Clean and Tidy

Always keep boxes, trash, and clothing out of the doorway and hallway; keeping these areas free from obstruction will allow everyone to exit quickly and safely in the event of a fire. Keeping your room neat and tidy will reduce the chances of a fire starting as well. It is not uncommon for college students to consign their clothing to wherever it may land; however clothing and debris that are not properly stored can quickly make for a combustible pile.

Cooking in Your Dorm Room

Most colleges and universities prohibit the use of hot plates, toasters, toaster ovens, and other cooking appliances in dorm rooms — and for good reason. Dorm rooms are generally small and confined spaces; therefore, the heat produced by these types of appliances can easily and quickly cause fires because of the close proximity of combustible books and papers. Though using a toaster oven to cook mini pizzas at 4 a.m. might seem like a good idea, you may actually be endangering yourself and other students in your building.

Halogen Lighting

Many schools now prohibit the use of halogen desk and floor lamps in dorm rooms. This is because of the extreme heat that halogen bulbs can create. When halogen bulbs fail, it is not uncommon for them to create a small, popping-explosion. This is usually not a concern in larger rooms or areas; however, dorm rooms are compact and generally filled with many items that are easily set on fire: books, papers, clothes, and many other things.

Smoking in Your Dorm Room

Don't smoke in your dorm room, period. Besides the discomfort and potential health risk that you will give your non-smoking roommates, it can be quite dangerous. A dropped cigarette onto a desk full of papers, or into a basket full of clothes has caused countless dorm room fires. Also, most colleges and universities strictly prohibit smoking in dorm rooms. If you're caught, you may be kicked out of school for endangering the lives of others.

Don't Play with the Fire Alarm

In many dorms, it is a common college prank to set off the fire alarm. This is not only childish and foolish, it is also extremely dangerous. When students continuously set off the fire alarm for no reason, other students will begin to ignore the fire alarm completely. In the event of an actual fire, some students may become trapped in their rooms because they thought the alarm was a prank. You should never even touch the fire alarm unless there is an actual emergency.

These are but a few commonsense suggestions for preventing fires in your dorm room; your college or university will certainly have many more rules regarding fire safety. Be sure to follow all of them as they were created for your safety as well as the safety of everyone in your building.