Public Protection Cabinet
State Fire Marshal's Office Reminds College Students of Fire Safety

Press Release Date:  Monday, August 31, 2009  
Contact Information:  Ricki Gardenhire, 502-564-5525  

           With first-time and returning students hitting college campuses across Kentucky, the Division of Fire Prevention is reminding Kentucky’s young adults to be aware of fire safety in dormitories and other campus buildings.

            Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed September “Campus Fire Safety Month” in Kentucky.

            State Fire Marshal Bill Swope said awareness, education, and consistent enforcement of safety and security measures must remain constants at our schools. “Kentucky has approximately 28,000 college students moving into housing on the campuses of our eight public universities. It’s important to remind these students – and those at private institutions -- to be proactive in their approach to campus safety.”

Kentucky’s Campus Safety Task Force Chairperson Gail Minger, mother of Michael Minger, a student killed in a 1998 arson fire at Murray State University, agrees that students need to take personal responsibility for their own safety.

“Students need to be aware of their surroundings; it’s an advantage to them in regards to fire safety. Besides education, there are three elements of which students need to be aware: make sure smoke detectors are operational; make sure you live in a dormitory with sprinklers; and know two ways out of your dormitory or campus building. These offer the best chances of survival in a fire situation. I urge students to take the threat of fire seriously – fires happen everyday,” said Minger.

In Kentucky, the Michael Minger Act gives the state fire marshal authority to inspect, investigate or take other necessary action to prevent fire loss or to determine the origin of a fire on college campuses.

Now in its fifth year, National Campus Fire Safety Month has provided an opportunity for schools and communities across the nation during September to educate students about the dangers of fire and their role in creating a fire-safe environment.

The fire marshal’s office offers the following safety tips for students:

  • Make yourself familiar with the college or university’s policy on improper use of appliances, decorations, smoking, and candles.
  • Familiarize yourself with what your response will be in the event of a fire and practice your response.
  • Do not obstruct or disable smoke alarms, or any other fire protection devices.
  • Do not play jokes with fire alarms. False alarms can get people hurt.
  • Never neglect a fire alarm signal as a false alarm. Respond to every alarm as an actual fire event.
  • Alcohol use has been strongly associated with fire fatalities in campus housing. If you drink, drink responsibly.
  • Take personal responsibility for your safety.

Additional information on campus fire safety is available online at and