Off-Campus Fire Safety


According to the U.S.  Department of Education, there are approximately 18,000,000 students enrolled in 4,100 colleges and universities across the country.  Approximately two-thirds of the students live in off-campus housing.

Campus-Related Fire Fatalities From January 2000 to 2010.

Occupancy Deaths % of Total
Off-campus 113 84%
Residence Hall 10 8%
Greek Housing 10 8%
Other 2 1%
Total 135  

There are four common factors in a number of these fires:

  • Lack of automatice fire sprinkler systems
  • Missing or disable smoke detectors
  • Careless disposal of smoking materials
  • Impaired judgement from alcohol consumption

It is important that off-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives.  Maintaining functioning smoke detectors in the place you sleep is one of the most important tools for your safety.  In an effort to help you stay safe, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue will provide you with a FREE smoke detector if you find your apartment or house does not have adequate smoke detectors.  Every September the Department of Campus Safety and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue recognize Campus Fire Safety month with a fire display and free smoke detectors in the Morrison Commons.  Please stop by the booth to get further fire safety information and if you live off-campus to pick up your free smoke detector.  During the rest of the year you can stop by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, 37th St. and Minnesota Ave., during normal business hours to get a free smoke detector or call the Department of Campus Safety, 605.274.4014, and we can help you get a smoke detector.

In addition to the free smoke detector, the Department of Campus Safety, in cooperation with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, provides a free fire inspection of your apartment or residence.  Please call the Department of Campus Safety to schedule your fire safety inspection, 605.274.4014.

Safety Tips for Students 


  • Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draperies and linens.


  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  • If you use electric appliances, don't overload circuits.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.


  • If you must smoke, only smoke outside of the building.
  • Use deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays.  Ashtrays should be set on something sturdy and hard to ignite.
  • It is risky to smoke when you've been drinking or are drowsy.
  • Soak cigarettes before emptying an ashtray.
  • After a party, check furniture and cushions for smoldering butts.

Escape Planning

  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • Before you open a door, feel the door.  If it's hot, use your second way out.
  • Use the stairs, never use an elevator during a fire.