Fire is one of the deadlier perils that threaten student safety. For many students, attending college or university also involves a move to a new city for the first time and the search for affordable housing off campus. This can be a concern for parents as they try to ensure their children will be safe when they’re not living under the same roof.
A fire in a student housing can quickly rage out of control if appropriate safeguards are not in place to stop it. While fatal fires in student housing are not an everyday occurrence, they can and do happen. Many young adults don’t believe that a fire will ever happen to them. While affordability may be a key issue in determining where you will live, another consideration that must be paramount in the minds of both students and their families is fire safety. It is essential for caregivers and students to talk about fire and life safety. Whether leaving home for the first time, a discussion about good fire safety practices can help to ensure this exciting time in a student’s life is not marred by a fire tragedy.
It is important to state here that fire safe student housing does not just happen by chance, nor can it be taken for granted. It requires an ongoing commitment on the part of the housing provider. Careful planning, implementation and maintenance are all essential ingredients of a successful fire safety program for student housing.
At Placio, the welfare, safety and security of our resident students is our number one priority. All our student housing sites are equipped with high-quality fire alarm systems, fire doors and fire prevention equipment. It is also important to note that Placio operates purpose-built student accommodation; therefore our buildings are professionally managed by our own staff on-site 24/7, trained to respond in the event of fire alarm activation. We also hold full evacuation drills to ensure our residents know exactly what to do in the case of a fire. Furthermore, our buildings are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, so you can rest assured that there will always be someone there watching out for you.
In line with our commitment to safety and security, we have undertaken detailed investigations to make sure that if any further precautions should be taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our students and staff. It’s vital to ensure fire safety is at the forefront of students’ minds. Placio reinforces this awareness and educates students on how to prevent life-threatening situations from occurring. The following is important fire safety information that every student should know and parents should discuss these basic fire safety rules with their teens.
What Should Every Student Know to Prevent Fire?
Placio has policies and regulations that give clear direction to student residents.
- The use of candles is becoming more and more popular, especially among young people. To prevent candle fires: Use tea lights or votive candles in non-combustible containers as they are generally a safer choice than tapers.
- Place the candles in a safe, sturdy container in a location where they can’t be knocked over or come in contact with combustible items.
- Blow out all candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
Candles in any form are prohibited in Placio. Open fires, including burning candles and activities potentially dangerous to property or disruptive to the community, such as incense and aromatic oils are also prohibited within Placio. All items (including candles) will be confiscated and violators of any of these policies are subject to disciplinary and/or legal action.
- Certain Placio properties offer cooking facilities, there are some basic fire safety rules they must follow to prevent cooking fires. Stay in the kitchen when cooking – especially if using oil or high temperatures.
- If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
- Keep all combustible items a safe distance away from the stove. This includes tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels.
- Keep a pot lid near the stove to smother flames if a fire starts in a pot.
- Cooking requires constant attention. Distractions like televisions, cell phones, or computers can lead to a tragic cooking fire.
Our fire regulations require that certain cooking appliances not be permitted in rooms except for the microwave provided by Placio. For safety reasons, any resident found using any prohibited cooking items will have the item(s) confiscated.
You will not display any type of wall hangings, flags or posters on the ceiling. This is a fire hazard. During you will be required to remove them. If not removed by a resident in the time stipulated, Placio reserves the right to remove them.
Explosives / Fireworks
Discharging firecrackers, fireworks, projectiles or any explosive device within the Placio properties is not permitted. Violations of this include, but are not limited to, discharging or in any way attempting to discharge types of manufactured or homemade fireworks or flaming projectiles including cannons or bottle rockets inside or adjacent to Placio. The size of the explosive is irrelevant. Violations of this policy may result in the termination of your housing lease upon the first offense.
Overloaded circuits and octopus wiring are dangerous electrical hazards that can be avoided. To prevent fires caused by electrical equipment:
- Use an approved circuit breaker and surge protector to plug in computer and stereo equipment.
- Avoid the use of extension cords as permanent wiring.
Electrical devices such as stereos, TVs, hair dryers, coffee pots, microwave and personal computers are permitted. These should be plugged directly into an outlet. Cooking appliances (examples: hot plates, toasters and any appliance with an open heating element) are NOT permitted.
Parties are as much a part of student life as attending classes. While most student parties are harmless fun, the consumption of alcohol and smoking is not permitted as it can create a serious fire risk. To minimize the risk of fires during or after parties:
- Avoid over-crowding. The more people attending the party, the easier it is to lose control of the situation.
- Students are not permitted to smoke. Consider putting up no smoking signs.
- Refrain from burning candles during parties. They can easily be knocked over or ignite nearby combustibles, unnoticed.
Placio is designated smoke-free housing
Fires caused by smoking can be deadly. Even if they don’t smoke themselves, chances are the student will have friends that do. To prevent smoking fires:
- Do not encourage smokers.
- Keep large, deep ashtrays on hand that will reduce the risk of ashes and cigarette butts falling onto rugs or upholstery.
- Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing of.
If a fire does occur, it is critical that the student accommodation have smoke alarms to alert occupants as soon as possible.
- The responsibility for smoke alarm installation and maintenance lies with Placio.
- It is against the law for student resident to disable or tamper with a smoke alarm.
Tampering with fire equipment, e.g. fire alarms, extinguishers and smoke detectors is a violation of Placio’s policies. Violations of this include, but are not limited to, removing a fire extinguisher from its prescribed location, fully or partially discharging a fire extinguisher for any purpose other than putting out a fire, tampering with smoke alarms located in public areas, taping smoke alarms in bedrooms, setting off false fire alarms, or removing or damaging exit lights and starting fires. Violations of this policy may result in the termination of your license upon the first offence.
Fire Escape Planning
When the smoke alarm sounds, everyone must know what to do and where to go. Encourage resident students to develop a fire escape plan, keeping the following in mind:
- Know two ways exit from every room, if possible. The first way out would be the door. The alternate escape could be a window that can be exited safely. Make sure all designated escape routes are accessible and free of clutter.
- A fire alarm should never be ignored.
- “Get low and go” under the smoke to the nearest safe exit, assisting people with mobility impairments.
- Never use the elevator- take the stairs instead.
- Carefully feel a closed door for heat before opening. Never open the door if it is hot.
- Leave the building as quickly as possible. Once outside, don’t re-enter the building for any reason.
- Call the fire department from outside the building using a cell phone.
- If there is no exit, phone for help and wait for firefighters. Put a wet towel under the door to keep out smoke. Open a window and wave a bright cloth or flashlight to signal for help.