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Get Out and Stay Alive

Campus-related fatal fires since January 2000 have five common factors:


  • Over 80 percent occur in off-campus housing, such as rented houses and apartments.
  • These occupancies lacked automatic fire sprinklers.
  • There were missing or disabled smoke alarms.
  • Careless disposal of smoking materials was a common factor in the fire cause.
  • Impaired judgment from alcohol consumption played a role.


Take these steps to increase your fire safety:

  • Plan and practice: Have a fire escape plan. Know two ways to get out. Practice your plan.
  • Detect: Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries at the start of each semester. Test monthly.
  • Extinguish (if trained): Have a working fire extinguisher. Know how to use the extinguisher and check it monthly.
  • Burn smart: Keep combustibles three feet away from any flame or heat source. Extinguish flames before leaving the room. Place ashes in a proper receptacle.
  • Get out: Do not ignore fire alarms. Do not wait to see fire or smoke. Leave immediately when you hear an alarm.

For more, see the U.Va. Office of Environmental Health & Safety and Housing Division resources or contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or