Preventing Dormitory Fires

Expert-Provided Tips to Reduce Fire Hazards

Prevent fire hazards in college dorms.

Prevent fire hazards in college dorms.

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

House Fire

House Fire

Electrical Fuse Panel

Electrical Fuse Panel

chez panisse fire caused by electrical short circut fault.

chez panisse fire caused by electrical short circut fault.

three wire dryer circuit, electrical dryer fire

three wire dryer circuit, electrical dryer fire

burned light fixture

light fixture burning wires

bad knob and tube wiring in the attic is typica

bad knob and tube wiring in the attic is typical

typical knob and tube wiring we see in crawl spaces

typical knob and tube wiring we see in crawl spaces.

Water pipe gas pipe grounding,

Water pipe and gas pipe bonding, grounding system

grounding system, ground rod clamp

ground acorn clamp for ground rods, proper clamp

Water main ground clamp

Water main bond

house fire in new york due to electrical violations.

house fire in new york due to electrical violations.

Every month needs to be Fire Safety Month.  According to the Center for Campus Fire Safety, since 1998 there have been over 16,000 college dormitory fires, and nearly 80 percent of college fire fatalities happen off dormitory/Greek houses. Students fill up older buildings near campus without sprinklers, and filled with knob and tube/ Edison based fuse panels, and dangerous old Federal Pacific Stab Lok and Sylvania Zinsco electrical systems.  Alcohol over use can also cause
many fires.

Local electrician, Geoff Williams said, “Many dormitories use not only multiple computers plugged into extension cords and over loaded outlet strips, kitchen appliance high draw items like: refrigerator and microwave, coffee pots, but also fire causing electrical space heaters, and zip cord extension wires run under carpets, and illegal work done by house maintenance workers to save money rather than hiring electricians with experience!”

Fire caused carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in on or off campus, claiming 400 lives and sending another 20,000 to the emergency room each year (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

The number of fires in campus housing—dormitory, fraternity and sorority homes, has risen from 1,800 fires in 1998 to 3,300 in 2005, and over 16,000 dorm fires since 1998!  These fires have caused many annual deaths and injuries, and many associated law suits from distraught parents and relatives!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the vast majority of the fatalities occurred in student bedrooms.  Fires usually happen during the evenings and on weekends when students are in their bedrooms.

“There are many common factors in fire deaths. Cigarettes or candles left burning, electrical space heaters that pull tremendous load on knob and tube AWG 14g asbestos lined circuits that are likely too small and or overloaded to begin with. Knob and tube is 85% asbestos infused wire on the insulated portion of the wire.”

Williams said, “There are many common factors in fire deaths.  Cigarettes or candles left burning, electrical space heaters that pull tremendous load on knob and tube AWG 14g asbestos lined circuits that are likely too small and or overloaded to begin with. Knob and tube is 85% asbestos infused wire on the insulated portion of the wire.”

“Space heaters are commonly used, cords run under carpets, halogen lights plugged into knob and tube outlets with no grounds, too much computer draw on knob and tube outlets, heavy use of hair blow dryers, hair curling and clothes irons and other large load devices without dedicated circuits run off old knob and tube lines, overloaded electrical outlets, extension cords and power strips plugged into other power strips, leaving too many loads with too little molecular transport area for the current to drive through! We are also seeing marijuana growing lights used in a few dorm houses, which are very fire prone. Wires are just like water pipes. If the pressure is too great, the pipe bursts.”

 

Helpful Daily Practice Prevents Fire Hazards

1.  Have an Evacuation Plan & Drill It for All House Members

Co2 and Smoke alarms must not be disabled, and there should also be a combination co2/smoke/carbon dioxide alarm as well in every room and hallway separated by doors.  House mothers/fathers should delegate battery changes, on a calendar, and only allow cooking in kitchens, and watch open fires.

2. Use Caution with Christmas Lights

Don’t use Christmas lights with zip cord wiring, especially outside in the rain, or more than a small length, and don’t plug the lights into each other as extensions!

3.  Don’t Smoke in Bedroom

Don’t allow smoking in bedrooms. Williams recommends all house members have fire extinguishers in all rooms.  The Tundra, a fire extinguisher spray that costs less than $20 and is great for every room.  These allow members to put out some quickly started fires themselves.

Geoff said, “We have worked on two Cal houses, Alpha Phi, and Chi Omega. “I have replaced every dangerous panel, outlet, light switch, connection, and light fixture at these houses to the future stars of America, and now they are far safer. I have installed new grounding systems, making them far safer, and less fire prone. I found many burned wires, and bad/loose connectors, burned and unsafe outlets, bad panels, no grounding, in each of these famous houses.”

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