Each year, there are more than 3,800 fires in off-campus houses and residences across all college and university campuses. These fires result in about 50 injuries, five deaths and $26 million in property loss and damages.
Edina Fire Marshal Rick Hammerschmidt expressed the danger of fires in off-campus living, saying, “We see a spike in fires in the off-campus housing in September and October because it’s when most students go back to school and for most of them, it’s a new experience. We just want them to have knowledge about fire safety and to be safe.”
Hammerschmidt also shared the major causes of off-campus fires.
“A major cause is cooking and then leaving the kitchen unattended, improper disposal of smoking material or becoming impaired from alcohol consumption while cooking or smoking,” he said. “We also see candles starting fires because students light them and then leave them unattended, so we suggest battery-powered candles.”
Hammerschmidt also suggested students test their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and said having a fire extinguisher easily accessible isn’t a bad idea, either.
Fires can quickly engulf a house. Hammerschmidt stated, “We say fires can double in size or even triple in size in a minute.”
Because of this, it is very important college students plan a meeting point outside with roommates to ensure all have gotten out of the residence safely. Other tips include making sure all windows and doors work, making sure basement windows meet egress requirements so you can get out of your window quickly, not overloading electrical outlets and never smoking inside.
Info: 952-826-0330 or visit EdinaMN.gov/Fire