Lawmakers, students, and advocates launch 2008 National Campus Fire Safety Month

Eighty students and campus fire-safety advocates joined law- and policy-makers on Capitol Hill on September 9, 2008, to launch National Campus Fire Safety Month in order to raise awareness of students, parents, and administrators of the importance of campus fire safety and the steps they can take to prevent the needless loss of life. This year’s theme, “Fire Safety — Take it Everywhere,” sends the important message that fire safety does not stop at the campus borders nor when the school year ends.

A national coalition including the Congressional Fire Service Institute, the Ohio Fire Safety Coalition, Campus Firewatch, the Chapel Hill (NC) Fire Department, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of South Carolina, parents of fire victims, and survivors of campus-related fires visited U.S. representatives and senators from across the country to urge continued improvements in campus and off-campus fire safety prevention and education efforts.

“It is important to recognize the National Campus Fire Safety Month announcement for its emphasis on protecting our young people,” said Chapel Hill (NC) Fire Chief Dan Jones. “However, it is even more significant that universities tied together in fire loss tragedies are bringing students together in Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress and other federal officials in order to prevent other institutions of higher learning from suffering similar tragedies. As a representative of the Fire Service and a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, I am proud to support these college students as they take an active role in the nation’s fire prevention efforts.”

Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ), Congressman Joe Wilson (SC), Congressman David Price (NC), and Congressman James Clyburn (SC) joined coalition leaders for a press conference calling for national attention to the issue of campus fire safety.

This year’s message will continue to push successful efforts to gain improved on-campus improvements in fire safety, as well as drive focus to the continuing problems with off-campus housing where two-thirds of the national student population lives and where 80 percent of student fatalities occur. Life-long learning will also be captured with lessons in fire safety that can be transferred beyond campus, regardless if it is to a parent’s home, first apartments or vacation.

Now in its fourth year, National Campus Fire Safety Month is extending its reach to the state level legislature and internationally. Nearly 30 states have declared September Campus Fire Safety Month.

New Web Resource

Those participating in National Campus Fire Safety Month activities will have a new tool in their educational arsenal, the new campus fire prevention Web site, co-sponsored by the Peoples Burn Foundation of Indiana and Campus Firewatch.

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