Fire Prevention Week: Prepare, Be Aware

Oct. 2, 2018

Fall’s cooler weather means a return to home heating and increased cooking, making October a great time to talk about fire safety. 

Fire Prevention Week this year runs Oct. 7-13. The campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to reduce the likelihood of having a fire—and help people escape safely in the event of one.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2016 alone there were 1.3 million fire calls in the U.S., resulting in 3390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries and 69 firefighter fatalities. By knowing how to mitigate dangers and what to do in an emergency, we can make Princeton a safer environment for everyone. 

Smoke Alarms

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, three out of five home fire deaths occur in properties without working smoke alarms. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. A good time to replace your battery is when we “fall back” to standard time in early November. 

Fire Extinguishers

Every kitchen should have a working fire extinguisher; make sure everyone knows its location and how it is used. In case of a fire, remember P.A.S.S.:

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim at the base of the fire
  • Squeeze the lever to release fire suppression material
  • Sweep from side to side

Check your extinguisher’s pressure gauge monthly and make sure operating instructions are visible. The locking pin should be intact and tamper seal unbroken. Contact Facilities immediately if an extinguisher is used, missing or damaged. 

Public Safety offers fire extinguisher training classes in the fall. Visit to register: under Training by Topic, choose Fire Safety. For additional information, contact  


Did you know cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries? Unattended cooking is the lead culprit, while frying poses the greatest risk of fire. 

Most calls to the fire department at Princeton are related to kitchen mishaps. Remember, NEVER leave cooking food unattended for any length of time. Keep stovetops and ovens clean, and do not store or place flammable materials such as papers or cookbooks near the stove. 

Banned Items

Electric space heaters, halogen lamps, candles, incense and flammable holiday decorations are banned from Undergraduate and Graduate housing on the Princeton campus. Heat-producing appliances are also prohibited unless on the University's list of permissable items. Dormitory and annex rooms are inspected periodically and at random times to ensure compliance with University regulations. Learn more »

Fire Escape Plans

Familiarize yourself with escape routes out of buildings and locations of fire alarms. NEVER ignore an alarm activation—stay low and attempt to leave by designated escape routes. If doors feel hot to the touch, stay in the room and call 911. 

Visit Public Safety’s fire safety webpage to learn more. If you have any questions about fire safety on campus, contact Princeton University Fire Marshall Scott Loh at 609-258-7343.