Student Housing Safety
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and household fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires, most of which start with the ignition of common household items including grease, paper, cabinets and curtains.
If you have a cooking fire
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- For a microwave fire, keep the microwave door closed, unplug the microwave to remove the source of heat
Safety considerations for cooking with oil
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
- If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.
Laundry equipment is often overlooked when addressing the issue of home fire safety. However, laundry appliances pose a serious fire risk because they involve electricity, and the combination of combustible clothing and extremely hot temperatures. The vast majority of laundry fires are caused by dryers that are not cleaned properly.
- Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter
- Clean lint filters before or after each use, and remove any lint from around the dryer drum
- Make sure the dryer exhausts into the exterior or into a listed water trap
- Inspect the area around the dryer for accumulations of lint, paying special attention to the area behind the dryer, and remove any lint you notice
- Inspect the flexible exhaust duct (if your dryer has one), and remove lint accumulations on a periodic basis
Electrical distribution equipment poses serious fire safety threats that can even be fatal, especially when equipment is used incorrectly.
- Never operate electrical appliances around bathtubs, showers, or puddles of standing water
- Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection when working where water is near electricity, to protect against electric shock … This means you should use GFCIs in your kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and outdoor locations
- Replace or repair frayed, loose, or otherwise damaged cords on all electronics
- Take note of any discolored switch plates, because discoloration could indicate that the electrical wiring behind the switch plate is overheating
- Remember: symptoms of potential wiring problems include household lights that dim or flicker, a TV picture that shrinks in size, frequent blown fuses, or circuit breakers that trip frequently.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from flammable items, and use light bulbs that match the lamps’ recommended wattages
Extension Cords and Surge Suppressers
- Never use an extension cord as a replacement for permanent wiring
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets
- Make sure power strips and surge suppressors are designed to handle the loads you will be using them for
- Connect power strips and surge protectors directly into a wall outlet. Do not connect multiple power strips or surge protectors together
- To prevent overloading circuits, do not plug too many items into the same outlet, extension cord, or surge suppresser
- Avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle, and try to only plug one high-wattage item into each outlet