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From the desk of Fire Marshal Fred Baker

Published 10:17 am, Monday, August 5, 2013
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Very soon many young people will be heading off to college -- some for the first time. It is a time of big change for first time collegians beginning the next stage in their lives. Fire safety is probably the last thing that families are thinking about as they head off to college. However, fire safety is just as important -- even more so -- in dorms or apartment buildings with hundreds of young students. Even more critical is off-campus housing which may not be covered by campus housing rules as we were so vividly reminded by the tragic fire at Marist College in Poughkeepsie a few years ago.

The New Canaan Fire Marshal's Office would like to offer important fire safety tips to help keep these students safe for this new adventure:

Ensure that each sleeping room is equipped with operable smoke detectors;

Candles are a leading cause of fires -- never burn candles or other open flame devices in dorm rooms and common areas;

Never use extension cords in place of proper, permanent wiring;

If given the choice, opt for a dorm/living quarters equipped with automatic fire sprinkler systems;

Know all ways out of your room/dorm and where each exit discharges. Actually take a few minutes to walk the routes to familiarize yourself;

In high-rise buildings, always have a means of re-entering your apartment if the hall becomes untenable (have room keys ready to go);

Always follow all directions and guidelines of the school and participate in fire drills as directed;

Learn your address so if you have to call 911 on your cellphone you can give the proper location;

Learn the location of fire alarm pull stations and the sound of the alarm system;

Never cook in your room -- cooking is another common cause of dorm fires.

If you have further questions regarding fire safety, call 203-594-3030.