There’s an important check to make as college students return to campus this fall. Look up and make sure there’s a working smoke detector in every room. Also make sure you have an evacuation plan should a fire start. “I want to see if they have a fire safety plan besides a crime safety plan,” says Tom Lia, executive director Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board.

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“Make sure they have extinguishers [and] working smoke detectors in the hallways.” Lia says a good choice is a building with a both smoke detectors and a sprinkler system.

With many students opting for off campus living quarters, Lia reminds them that aside from smoke detectors and an escape plan, keeping a fire extinguisher on hand could save the day.

“You know your fire safety when you’re in your own single family home but when you’re with five, six, seven other people, you don’t know their habits,” Lia says. “The fires on the stove, the smoking fires and the candle fires are the biggest fire deaths.”

Lia also recommends that those living on the second or third floor of a dormitory consider keeping an escape ladder on hand.

If students find themselves without a smoke detector or they see a potential fire hazard they should contact their landlord immediately. Also students shouldn’t be afraid to go to the local fire department for guidance.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/