Nationwide, every residential fire to claim the life of a college student in more than 15 years has occurred in off-campus housing. This includes two Massachusetts students who died in off-campus housing fires in the past 10 years. In the past five years, there have been more than 2,700 fires in Massachusetts dormitories, fraternities, and sororities, causing seven civilian injuries, five fire service injuries, and an estimated $2.9 million in damages. Students need working smoke alarms and two ways out of any place they live.
Don't let your student sleep for a single night in housing without smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These are required by law. For the price of a pizza, you can buy and install working smoke alarms to give students early warning of danger.
For more information, visit Campus Firewatch and learn about the See It Before You Sign It campaign which encourages you to inspect any apartment your child will live in before signing a lease.
Use this Student Renters Guide to know your student's rights as a tenant in Massachusetts (from the Attorney General of MA).
For Students and RAs
- Don't sleep for a single night in housing without smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These are required by law. For the price of a pizza, you can buy and install working smoke alarms to have early warning of danger.
- Always know two ways out of every room in case of fire.
- When an alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Call 9-1-1 from outdoors.
Students are responsible for maintaining safety in their housing:
- Never disable smoke or CO alarms.
- Do not hang things from sprinkler systems.
- Do not block doors or windows.
More information about campus fire safety:
- The RA Guide to Teaching Fire Safety from the Michael H. Minger Foundation.
- Outreach materials to read and post from the United State Fire Administration.
- The Alarming Truth is a short video about fatal off-campus fires. The video was produced by students and the Clergy Center for Security on Campus.
Use this Student Renters Guide to know your rights as a tenant in Massachusetts (from the Attorney General of MA).
For College Administrators and Fire Educators
College administrators and fire educators can encourage on- and off-campus fire safety. Use the following resources to promote fire and life safety education.
Community Service Projects — The Michael H. Minger Foundation has a community service project program where students work alongside fire departments doing home safety visits. Materials include videos, handouts and an outline about running the program.
Monthly Themes — Each month, Campus FireWatch has a campus-related fire safety theme. Use the information to make fire safety a year-round issue.