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Tip of the Month

Before You Lease, Focus On Fire Safety

 

October 11, 2011 — Dana Christmas and Julie Turnbull want you to read this to learn from their stories. Hundreds of students face fire-related emergencies while at school and it has happened here, too – in 2004, in 2007, and in 2010.

 

Asking the right questions and taking five minutes to think about escaping a fire can save your life. The U.S. Fire Administration Campus Fire Safety suggests you find out the answers to these questions before signing a lease:

  • Are working smoke alarms installed? (Preferably in each bedroom, interconnected to sound if any one detects smoke)
  • Are there at least two ways to exit your bedroom and your building?
  • Do the upper floors of the building have at least two interior stairs, or a fire escape?
  • Is a sprinkler system installed and maintained?
  • Are the existing electrical outlets adequate for all of the appliances and equipment that you are bringing – without the need for extension cords?
  • Are there EXIT signs in the building hallways to indicate accessible escape routes?
  • Does the building have a fire alarm system installed and maintained?
  • Has the building's heating system been inspected recently (in the last year)?
  • Is the building address clearly posted to allow rescuers to find you quickly in an emergency?
  • Does the sprinkler system or fire alarm system send a signal to the local fire department or campus security?

The answers to these questions will help you plan your escape if you need to get out.

Finally, if you choose to live off-Grounds you can request a fire safety inspection for common areas and for your sleeping area by calling the Charlottesville Fire Department at 434-970-3325 or Albemarle County Fire and Rescue at 434-296-5833.

For housing safety information, contact the Housing Division if you live on-Grounds and the Off-Grounds Housing Office if you live, well, off Grounds. Other resources include the UVA Office of Fire Safety at 434-243-1711 or fire-safety@virginia.edu and the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

 

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