Each year thousands of parents send their children off to college in hopes of
fulfilling dreams for the future. Many of these young adult children reside in college
dormitories and assume their new homes are fire safe. The reality is, fires occur within
college dormitories for a variety of reasons. Sadly, such incidents have occurred at
prestigious universities including Ohio State, North Carolina, and Seton Hall just to name
a few. The results of these fires are sometimes devastating and heartbreaking.
As in many metropolitan cities, the Fresno Fire Department provides fire
protection to a diverse population that includes residents of college campuses. One
university that resides in Fresno is California State University, Fresno (CSUF) with an
enrollment of over 21,000 students. Nine dormitories within CSUF house over 1,000
students, many of whom are away from home for the first time.
The problem was the Fresno Fire Department did not provide fire prevention
education to the staff members and residents in order to cultivate fire safety awareness
and fire prevention. The purpose of this research project was to develop an in-service fire
safety program that would educate residence hall advisors of the causes of fatal fires in
dormitories and how to mitigate such events.
Descriptive and action research was used to answer the following questions:
What are the causal factors of fatal fires in dormitories, and do they exist within the CSUF residence halls?
What fire protection equipment and systems provide the best protection for residents of college dormitories and do they exist at CSUF?
3. What policies, procedures, and systems are in place to prevent fatal fires from occurring in the CSUF residence halls?