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LEADING COMMUNITY RISK REDUCTION - page 19 / 75

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alternative to a completely automatic fire sprinkler system. However, the safest residence

halls provide smoke detection, fire alarm, fire sprinklers, and building features designed

to reduce the spread of fire.

Policies and Procedures

The USFA guide for campus housing administrators described the

problem of fire in college dormitories and suggested a four-pronged approach to fire

safety in student housing (Mowrer, 1999). This included prevention, occupant awareness

and training, detection and alarm, and suppression.

In the area of prevention, the guide refers to the fire triangle that shows the

relationship between the elements required for a fire to occur. These elements include

fuel, air, and an ignition source. Since air is readily available, the guide focuses on fuels

such as upholstered furniture and draperies, and ignition sources such as smoking

materials and candles as key areas that need to be addressed by campus housing

administrators.

In the section on occupant awareness and training, administrators are urged to

instruct residents on fire prevention and fire response. Instruction on what can be done to

reduce the potential for ignition of a fire, as well as, training to recognize potential

hazards should be provided. In addition, students must be taught what to do in the event

of a fire. This includes evacuation procedures, decision making on whether to fight the

fire, and fire protection features of the building.

Mongeau (1999) described the procedures of a fire safety unit to augment the fire

protection systems at Northeastern University. The fire safety unit administers weekly

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