Washington, DC -- The tragic dormitory fire at Seton Hall University early Wednesday morning underscores the efforts of the U.S. Fire Administration to look at the issue of fire safety at colleges and universities. A cooperative agreement between the USFA and the National Fire Protection Association has focused efforts on making students more aware and universities and colleges safer for the nearly 15 million college students in the U.S.
"The USFA has been working on a number of different fronts to raise awareness on college campuses about fire safety," said USFA Chief Operating Office Ken Burris. "The New Jersey fire is a tragedy that highlights why our efforts are important."
Annually, there are approximately 1,700 documented fires in college dormitories, classroom buildings and fraternities and sororities. Within the dormitories, the No. 1 cause of fires is arson or suspected arson. The second leading cause of college building fires is cooking, while the third leading cause is smoking.
Over 90 percent of the campus building fires reported to fire departments occurred in buildings where there were smoke alarms present. However, only 27 percent had sprinklers present.
For more information on the USFA College fire safety program, go to http://www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/public/campus.cfm.