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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus Fire Safety warns students of fire danger

    Thousands of people die in fires in the United States each year, and college students are at significant risk, according to Campus Fire Safety, a nonprofit national organization.

    The four main factors that lead to fatal fires are a lack of automatic fire sprinklers, poor disposal of cigarettes and cigars, a lack of fire alarms and impaired judgment from alcohol, said Campus Fire Safety director Ed Comeau.

    “”Often there are fire-safety systems in place, but the students’ actions may negate their effectiveness,”” Comeau said.

    Drinking alcohol and becoming impaired along with disabling fire alarms to cook without

    The primary responsibility falls upon the student. They have a personal responsibility to make sure that they are choosing and living in fire-safe housing.

    – Ed Comeau,Campus Fire Safety director

    setting off alarms in small rooms are typical college student behaviors that can increase the risk of experiencing fatal fires.

    Although Homecoming weekend at the UA features a bonfire, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia said he could not recall any fires on campus since he has been here.

    “”I think fire safety, like everything else, is a personal responsibility,”” Mejia said.

    Mejia said overloaded outlets and candles are causes of fires that can easily be eliminated.

    While the UA campus’ fire-protection mechanisms are inspected and maintained by the university’s Risk Management and Safety department, the safety of off-campus housing is a concern, Comeau said.

    About 80 percent of all student-related fires occur off campus, according to Campus Fire Safety.

    The Tucson Fire Department would respond to fires on or off the UA campus, but the maintained safety systems in place in campus buildings along with quick responses from the UAPD make on-campus housing safer from fire, Comeau said.

    If a fire broke out in a UA building, the UAPD could arrive on the scene faster than TFD and could evacuate the building if there was smoke but no active fire emanating from the building, Mejia said.

    The UAPD would also clear the area to prepare for TFD’s arrival, Mejia said.

    But off-campus housing can still be safe if residents follow safety fire-safety guidelines, Comeau said.

    “”The primary responsibility falls upon the student,”” Comeau said. “”They have a personal responsibility to make sure that they are choosing and living in fire-safe housing.””

    “”I feel very safe here,”” said Kyle Kryger, a chemical engineering freshman and resident of Yuma Residence Hall.

    “”I’m right next to the fire exit, so I know I have an out,”” said Kayla Barnett, freshman majoring in astronomy and physics who lives in Yavapai Residence Hall. “”Plus, there are sprinkler systems in all the rooms.””

    Campus Fire Safety aims to increase college students’ awareness of fire risks in

    order to save lives in today’s schools and to teach future adults how to stay safe throughout their lives.

    Campus Fire Safety raises awareness of such dangers by publishing information on the Internet at campusfire.org and campus-firewatch.com and by supporting national legislation that helps improve safety conditions for college students.

    Through grassroots efforts, the organization has pushed for laws that would grant tax breaks to private housing owners who install fire sprinkler systems in their buildings.

    It has also supported laws that would require colleges to report their fire safety information to the U.S. Department of Education, which would provide the data to students and their parents, Comeau said.

    “”We are committed to helping all students,”” Comeau said. “”Our objective is to give them information and training that they can use throughout their lives, not just for the years that they are in college.””

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