Our View: Only you can prevent house fires

DKS Editors

One hundred and eighty-four people died in fires in Ohio in 2008, and only 19 percent of the houses where fatal fires occurred had functioning smoke detectors, according to Ohio’s Division of State Fire Marshal.

Across the United States, more than 3,000 people die in home fires every year, and the majority lived in houses without working smoke alarms.

Within the last week, three fires have taken place close to campus; their causes have not been determined. While the effects of the fires might have been devastating for the houses’ owners or tenants, the events should be a reminder for all members of the Kent community to verify fire safety measures in their homes.

Begin by simply unplugging the gazillion electric devices you have in your room when they are not being used. Look around, is the hair straightener or curling iron you used this morning still plugged in? Did you forget to unplug the electric razor? What about the toaster, cell phone charger and printer? Is the coffee maker you used during midterm week still plugged in? And the iron that helped you polish your look for the job interview?

If you live off campus, check the smoke detectors at your place. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends testing smoke alarms every month and changing alkaline batteries once a year at the minimum. Read the tag on the fire extinguisher and make sure it has not expired. If you are a tenant and find any anomalies, ask your landlord to repair them.

If you live on campus, follow the Hallways Handbook’s rules. Remember that you are not allowed to hang or attach anything to smoke detectors or sprinkler systems. Hay, straw, leaves, corn husks or other dried vegetation, cut evergreen trees and branches are not allowed in the dorms. Sorry, no natural Christmas trees. Torch-like lamps, multi-colored and flexible floor lamps included, are prohibited too. So is the George Foreman you may have used for your grilled cheese at lunch.

In all seriousness, check your room, apartment or entire house. Stay safe.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board whose members are listed to the left.