See It Before You Sign It!


Living off-campus while away at school is an exciting time in a college student’s life. With spring in the air, many students and parents are beginning their search for off- campus housing in time for the fall semester.  Parents and students are encouraged to put fire safety first.

Did you know that according to a study by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), 94% of fatal campus fires from 2000-2015 took place in off-campus housing? That same study showed 58% of fatal campus fires had no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that did not have working batteries.

Sadly, last year, a Southern Illinois University student died in an off- campus house fire and just this year, an Oregon college student, died in an off- campus apartment fire.

To help prevent these tragedies, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has teamed up with USFA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Campus Firewatch to help get the message out about off- campus housing fire hazards.  The See It Before You Sign It campaign encourages parents to take a more active role in helping their student find fire safe housing.

It is important to never sign a lease until you have seen the housing.  Once you see the house or apartment, make sure it has:

  • Working smoke alarms in every sleeping room as well as outside each sleeping area and on each level of the apartment or house. Test monthly.
  • Fire sprinklers
  • Two ways out of each room for a safe escape

Do This:

  • Make sure all windows and doors open easily
  • Make sure housing can handle the power demands for your computers, phones, TV’s etc.
  • Ask the landlord pointed questions about fire safety

USFA’s study also found that alcohol and smoking materials were involved in the majority of the fires. And, always keep an eye on food when it is cooking.

We hope college students are taking good notes, as it could save their life.

#SmokeAlarmsAndTwoWaysOut, #OffCampusFire

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