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
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