Fire Safety Suggestions


Managing our risk requires all alumni and chapter members to set high standards for the safety of our houses. In no area of house operations is this more important than in the area of fire safety. An analysis of 260 fraternity and sorority house fires conducted by the National Fire Protection Association determined the leading causes of these fires to be as follows:

24.9% Careless smoking and match disposal
22.7% Electrical system misuse and over fusing
19.6% Defective heating devices, chimneys
9.6% Arson or other suspiciously caused fires
6.2% Spontaneous ignition
5.8% Kitchen and cooking hazards
. 8% Lightning
.8% Ignition from building next door
4.2% Miscellaneous

This list clearly demonstrates that the great majority of chapter house fires are preventable. The number of fires (260) shows it can happen to you.

Basic fire safety suggestions for a fire safety risk management program follow:

  1. Establish a “no smoking” policy. Ban smoking in bed and establish other non-smoking areas. Provide plenty of ashtrays in designated smoking areas.
  2. DO NOT overload circuits. Prohibit the use of extension cords, multi-outlet devices, etc. Do not permit members to install their own custom wiring.
  3. Install alarm system. Consult with local fire officials to determine the number and preferred location of smoke and heat detectors in sleeping rooms and common areas. Also consider installing an alarm system wired to a central location.
  4. Provide and maintain fire extinguishers. Extinguishers should be well marked and readily available throughout the house. Establish penalties for tampering with a fire extinguisher. Make sure extinguishers are checked and serviced regularly.
  5. Hold regular fire drills. Plan, design and post your emergency evacuation plan. Post it inside each bedroom door. Quarterly fire drills are recommended, with evacuation leaders and a post-evacuation roll call procedure established. Have emergency telephone numbers posted at all house phones.
  6. Keep the chapter house clean. Avoid keeping flammable materials in the house. Extra clutter, such as paper, boxes and clothing, provide fuel for a fire. Trash removal is especially important.
  7. Comply with fire codes and regulations. Local fire department officials and insurance investigators will be willing to provide regular inspections and answer your questions, usually without cost.

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