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Incidence of Dorm Fires Peaks in September, October


September and October are peak months for fires in college housing, according to the national Fire Protection Association. U.S. fire departments responded to over 3,800 structure fires in college housing between 2007 and 2011, according to NFPA research. "These fires caused an annual average of 2 civilian deaths, 30 civilian fire injuries, and $9.4 million in direct property damage," says the NFPA.

The report, "Structure Fires in Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities and Barracks," states that about 70 percent of fires began in cooking areas, mostly when a hot stove is left unattended. Of the fires in cooking areas, roughly 75 percent were caused by cooking equipment.

In addition to cooking areas, NFPA reports that seven percent of fires started in bedrooms, and were disproportionally responsible for injuries and damage, causing 27 percent of overall injuries and 21 percent of property damage. NFPA reports that fires are most common between the hours of 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on weekends.

NFPA's campus and dorm fire webpage has several resources useful to facility managers of these types of facilities, such as an infographic that can be shared with students.

As well, NFPA provides two one-page tip sheets on fire safety directed at students living in campus and off-campus housing:

College Campus Safety Sheet

Fire Safety Checklist

Find the report mentioned above here.

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