VCU Alert

On-campus emergency: 828-1234
Off-campus emergency: 911

Fire safety

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year college and university students experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. There are several common causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, intentionally set fires and open flames (e.g., candles). Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention.

For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventive measures that could save their lives.

Candles

  • Avoid using lighted candles.
  • Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draperies and linens.

Cooking

  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  • If you use electric appliances, don’t overload circuits.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.

Smoking

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out; never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions; chairs and sofas catch on fire quickly and burn fast.

Escape planning

  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • Before opening a door, feel the door. If it’s hot, use your second way out.
  • Use the stairs; never use an elevator during a fire.
  • If you are trapped, call 828-1234 or 911 and give your location. Seal your door with rags and signal from your window. Open windows slightly at the top and bottom; shut them if smoke rushes in from any direction.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.

Visit the U.S. Fire Administration website for more information on campus fire safety.