dormitories, and it is assumed that the responses of only resident advisors would provide
the best information available regarding the fire safety situations found at the CSUF
The results of the research project were achieved through analysis and
interpretation of the literature review. Also, a survey was distributed, and the
corresponding data was compared to the evidence found in the literature review. Next,
two interviews were conducted. Finally, the information was used to develop a fire
safety education lesson plan. The results and answers to the research questions are as
Research Question 1. What are the causal factors of fatal fires in dormitories, and
do they exist within the CSUF residence halls?
Based on the literature reviewed, significant evidence exists to suggest college
dormitories in the United States are susceptible to fatal fires. The United States Fire
Administration (USFA, 2001) estimates 1,300 dormitory fires occur annually.
Von Deitsch (1997) estimated 1,437 dormitory fires occurred each year between 1990
and 1994. Rohr (NFPA 2001) estimated 1,600 fires occurred in dormitories and
fraternity and sorority houses each year between 1994 and 1998.
Rohr (NFPA 2001) studied the causes of fires in dormitories, fraternities, and
sorority houses from 1994 to 1998. The leading cause was incendiary/suspicious at 31
percent. Cooking and smoking were the second and third leading causes respectively.
According to the USFA Report (2001), the incidence of arson was two and one-half times
greater in dormitories than the incidence of arson in residential occupancies. Bryan