San Antonio, the land of epic battles, flowing rivers and the Alamo was home to the 30th AFSA Convention & Exhibition last week. The American Fire Sprinkler Association convention offered multi-track, educational sessions to fire safety professionals while manufacturers such as A-C Fire Pump took part in the industry’s largest fire sprinkler exhibition in the United States.
One thing that was noticeable was that the industry continues to grow and invest in solutions as thousands of fire sprinkler and fire safety professionals came to see the innovative fire prevention solutions on display.
Over the past 30 years, fire safety and sprinkler systems have come a long way. With better testing, research, and new and improved technologies, protection designs have emerged that can control fires in almost any situation. In fact, automatic sprinklers have proven to be an effective means of achieving building fire safety, property preservation and more importantly, the reduction of causalities over the last several decades.
As we know from years of research, building and fire code professionals have long recognized the performance of automatic sprinklers as an effective alternative to traditional passive fire protection measures in achieving fire safety goals.
Since many of our readers work with pumps, controls and other products used in fire safety systems, or if you have loved ones attending universities, we thought you might find the following tips useful. So, to celebrate the start of the school year and the awareness that the AFSA Convention and Exhibition provided, we would like to share some critical fire safety tips as part of `Campus Fire Safety Month’.
Did you know that in cases where fire fatalities occurred on college campuses, alcohol was a factor in more than 50% of adult fire fatalities? Victims under the influence at the time of the fire often display impaired judgment and hamper evacuation efforts. Other leading causes of fire injuries on college campuses include careless cooking, smoking and arson.
Here are just a few factors that contribute to the problem of dormitory and apartment fires:
- Improper use of 911 notification systems delay emergency response.
- Student apathy is prevalent. Many are unaware that fire is a risk or threat in the environment.
- Evacuation efforts are hindered since fire alarms are often ignored.
- Building evacuations are delayed due to lack of preparation and planning.
- Vandalized and improperly maintained smoke alarms and fire alarm systems inhibit early detection of fires.
- Misuse of cooking appliances, overloaded electrical circuits and extension cords increase the risk of fires.
Here are some easy tips to follow to keep a dorm room or apartment safe from fire:
- Check with college and building owners about fire safety prevention and ask important questions such as:
- “Does every room have a smoke alarm?”
- “How often are fire drills conducted?” “
- “Are the residence halls equipped with automatic fire sprinkler systems?”
- “How many fires have occurred on campus in the past few years?”
- Learn how to properly notify the fire department using the 911 system.
- Limit use of open flames, as the use of candles and indoor smoking are other top causes of on-campus fires.
- Do not leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep candles safe in a holder that keeps them away from papers, bedding, curtains and other flammable materials.
- Maintain and regularly test smoke alarms and fire alarm systems.
- Replace smoke alarm batteries every semester.
- Regularly inspect rooms and buildings for fire hazards. Ask the local fire department for assistance with hazardous materials.
- Inspect exit doors and windows and make sure they are working properly.
- Create and update detailed floor plans of buildings, and make them available to emergency personnel, resident advisors and students.
- Don’t hide from fire alarms: Treat every fire drill as if it were the real thing, even if it occurs at 3 a.m. Leave the building immediately and close all doors as you leave.
- Do not overload electrical outlets and make sure extension cords are used properly.
- Learn to properly use and maintain heating and cooking appliances.
For additional information and tips on campus fire safety, please visit the following Web sites: