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Fire Safety
 Fire safety standards and resources differ drastically around the world. For example, while sprinkler systems are mandatory for hotels in the U.S., in many other parts of the world they are not required.

Fire moves very fast, and can burn down a building in minutes. Keep fire safety awareness on your list of priorities as you help your student prepare.

There are some countries with best practices in community fire safety programs that have helped reduce fire injuries and fatalities in the home. Fire brigades have been required by national legislations to engage in strong community safety programs as part of an overall national strategy for improving fire safety. There are other countries that are in the process of achieving good standard, yet others may not have acceptable standards. Inform yourself and plan with your student.
Consider that emergency exit requirements in some countries may be less stringent than in the U.S. Be aware of the different styles of emergency exit signage, and in some countries the lack of exit signs.
  • PREPARE and READ the section on Fire Safety in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
    In cases where fire fatalities occurred on college campuses in the U.S., alcohol was a factor. There is a strong link between alcohol and fire deaths. In more than 50% of adult fire fatalities, victims were under the influence at the time of the fire. Alcohol abuse often impairs judgment and hampers evacuation efforts. Cooking is the leading cause of fire injuries on college campuses in the U.S., closely followed by careless smoking and arson.
  • PRACTICE with your student a fire escape plan. It is not uncommon to find items stored in emergency stairwells, leaving the path obstructed or sometimes impassable. It is also possible to find fire doors that have been chained shut due to the criminal threat. To mitigate the threat from fire, your student should check emergency exits to ensure that they are passable.
  • PURCHASE a smoke alarm for your student before departure as they may not be easily found in some locations abroad. A smoke alarm is critical for the early detection of a fire and could mean the difference between life and death.

  • BE AWARE that smoke inhalation is the primary cause of fire deaths and accounts for some 50-80 percent of all deaths from indoor fires. Smoke hoods should be part of your student's personal safety plan. Smoke hoods can be carried in a backpack and can provide the wearer with 15-20 minutes of basic respiratory protection. Consult with your local Fire Department.  
  • READ important information at Fire Safety Foundation.
    The primary goal of the Fire Safety Foundation is to support students abroad to live in homes secure from the threat of a fire. The Foundation may subsidize the cost of fire safety equipment for students who cannot afford to purchase the equipment themselves.