SUMMIT, NJ - The latter days of August mean that many Summit residents will see their daughters and sons head off -- or back -- to college and, in light of this matriculation, the City of Summit Fire Department has issued a series of campus fire safety tips for students.

Fire departments across the U.S. respond to an average of 3,870 structure fires annually in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and off-campus housing and, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, 85 fires resulted in 118 fatalities on college campuses from 2000 - 2015.

“The Summit Fire Department recognizes that going to college is an exciting time for students and their families,” explains Fire Chief Eric Evers. “Living away from home for the first time not only gives young adults more freedom to make their own choices, but it also puts upon them an increased level of personal responsibility while at school. When it comes to on- and off-campus housing, it’s important to educate students on fire safety.”

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The following safety tips, from the National Fire Protection Association, can help to ensure a fire-safe environment on campus:

  • Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.

  • If you live in a dormitory, make sure your sleeping room has a smoke alarm, or your dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping room. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the dormitory suite should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.

  • If you live in an apartment or house, make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the apartment unit or house. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the apartment unit or house should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.

  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly, and never remove batteries or disable the alarm.

  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.

  • If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.

  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.

  • Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a grill, fire pit, or chiminea.

  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.

For more information, contact the City of Summit Fire Department at 908-277-9358.