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Fire Safety and Dorm Fires According the the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) residence or dormitory fires in college campuses are becoming a bigger issue than in recent years. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and The National Fire Protection Agency also state that “Cooking equipment causes 72% of dorm fires”, and “Electrical products, portable heaters, and lighting such as halogen lamps are the source of many dorm fires.” These facts raise awareness to students that living conditions can be extreme fire hazards. Another leading cause of fires in residence halls is arson. Less likely than cooking fires, residence hall fires are started intentionally by arsonists, which is obviously, extremely illegal. Of instances where fires are unintentional cooking equipment is likely responsible. One instance of this was demonstrated by a dormitory fire at the University of Mary Washington. The blaze was started unintentionally by a malfunctioning single cup coffee maker. In blazes such as dorm fires, there has been temperature recordings of over to 800 degrees fahrenheit, that can cause the entire building to explode into flame or severely burn the residents of the building. Fortunately, the fire at University of Mary Washington was contained to one room thanks to an early detection by smoke alarms and fire sprinklers to help douse the flames. Students were evacuated from the building and allowed to return to their residences after the blaze was extinguished by the local fire department. However, “159 students living in Mason had to relocate temporarily because of the wet conditions caused by the sprinkler system. Many were either away for the weekend or moved in with friends.” (Cathy, 1) In this case in Washington, the building was apparently saved by the smoke detection and sprinkler system. According to an article, this system was improved with recent renovations before the blaze. apparently the Improvement of the system was crucial, because it was found by officials that the fire was started by the malfunctioning coffee machine while the current residents were not present. The sprinkler system was the first line of defense against the accidental blaze, and it worked, but at the expense of 159 students having to live off campus due to water damages. This instance of fire in a residence hall demonstrates the importance of having properly functioning smoke detectors and fire sprinklers, because the cause of fire can be accidental and occur when nobody is present to put out the fire in its early stages. Another residence hall fire to reflect on is one that occurred at a Cal State L.A. dorm on November 2, 2012. The fire was caused at night by cooking grease that had ignited. Before the Fire department could arrive, the blaze had been extinguished by five female college students.
When the fire fire department arrived, two of the students were burned badly and the other three had minor burns. The Three students who had minor burns were only visiting from a different school. This event demonstrates how dangerous cooking fires can be. Grease fires can escalate quickly, and if fires aren’t taken care of properly they can end with someone getting hurt. However, if fires do occur while people are present, the do have an opportunity to douse the flames before the fire grows too large to handle, as illustrated in this event. Fires in residence halls are never a good thing, but they do happen. And since they do happen it is important to take proper safety precautions such as smoke detectors and fire sprinklers. These systems are extremely important in the event a fire were there is no one present or the residents are sleeping. Since fires are almost inevitable these systems are very important in residence hall safety against the rising threat of fires.
Resources:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/11/five-injured-in-cal-state-la-dorm-fire-caused-by-cooking-grease.html

http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/11/10/umw-dorm-fire-displaces-students/

http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=711&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Occupancies/Campus%20and%20dorm%20fires

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