Off Camping Housing Safety


Self Preservation

  • Get Out -Take all fire alarms seriously and get out.
  • Don’t Stop - If you become aware of a fire or hear a fire alarm, leave the building immediately. Do Not Stop.
  • Feel It  -Feel door handles. If they are warm, do not open them. Find another way out of your room. If you can’t get out, signal for help. Phone for help. Go to a window and wave a white piece of cloth to attract the attention.
  • Take Your Key  -While making your exit, take your room keyin case you are forced to re-enter the room due to impassible heat, smoke, or fire.
  • Close It  -Close your room door behind you to prevent unnecessary smoke damage to your room.
  • Stay Low and Go  -Stay low in smoke where the cleaner and cooler air is found near the floor.
  • Find the Door  -Always use closest exit or stairway as an exit route; never use elevators.
  • Pull It  -Activate the alarm pull station if you should pass it on your way out of the building.
  • Don’t Go Back  -Once Outside, don’t go back inside! Call 911.
  • Stop-Drop-Roll  -If your clothes are on fire, stop, drop and roll.
  • Cool It  -Cool burns with cool water and seek medical attention.

Smoke Detectors Required

  • Detectors Required  -Smoke detectors are required in all housing units and especially in sleep quarters. A smoke detector is recommended for all bedrooms.
  • Install It  -Smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling or sidewall of the room at a common area, such as a sitting room, that is jointly accessible by a group of bedrooms. For questions about installation, call Louisville Fire Dept. (502) 574-3701
  • Can You Hear It  -When activated, the smoke detector should sound an alarm that can be clearly herd while in the sleeping areas.
  • Test It -Most smoke detectors have a test button, that when depressed, will sound the alarm. However, the detector may be a single station type and wired to sound only in your room and others may not be made aware of the problem.
  • That Chirping Sound  -A chirping sound being emitted from a detector usually indicates a low-battery signal. If you hear the detector sounding off intermittingly, advise your landlord to check and/or replace the batteries.
  • Replace Batteries  -Alkaline batteries should be replaced at least annually, lithium batteries can last up to 10 years and may only be used in certain models of detectors. Remember to test the alarm by depressing the test button monthly.


  • Know Another Way Out -It is important to be able to identify more than one exit route from the building. Locate and mentally map out your emergency paths of egress options. Do not assume that your usual path of egress will be passable. Locate all doors that lead to outside of the building and attempt to open them. Make note of any special locking or security hardware on the door.
  • Keep It Clear -All hallways and stairways should be clear of any materials that may create trip hazards or obstructions during an evacuation. In case of a fire, bikes, flower planters, and other items stored in halls and on stairs may create trip hazards, move them or have them removed now! Hallways and stairways are not the place for storage according state fire code (4-1.9.1, 4-4.1, 4-9.1, 2000 NFPA-1) “All exits shall be kept available for immediate use at all times during occupancy hours”.
  • Can You Open It -In many cases windows may be the only way out of a building the event of an emergency evacuation. This is especially true in sleeping quarters. Be sure to check that all windows open fully and easily and have not been painted shut.
  • Release It -If your windows are equipped with theft deterrent bars, they should have a release mechanism reachable while standing on the surface of the floor, usually there is a foot or hand release device that may be pulled or pushed to release the locking device. Test this device and be sure that the window can be fully opened.

Fire and Life Safety Equipment

  • Locate the Fire Extinguisher -If the building is equipped with fire extinguishers, make sure you are familiar with where they are located. Check the gauge to see if it indicates a normal charge level. Only use fire extinguishers if you have been trained and the fire is a small one. Never allow the fire to get between you and your way out of the building.
  • Locate the Pull Station -If you are in a multi-unit building; locate the fire alarm pull stations between your room and along your exit path out of the building.

Common Fire Hazards

  • Excessive and incorrect use of extension cords may cause a fire. 
    Overloaded electrical outlets are hazardous when too many items are plugged into one wall outlet.
  • Improper housekeeping habits that create blocked egress paths and excessive combustibles create life safety hazards.
  • Floor/space heaters should be equipped with an automatic tip-over shut-off function and should not be positioned closer than 3 feet to things that will burn.
  • Heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet without the use of an extension cord. Extension cords used in conjunction with space heaters tend to get very hot and may cause a fire.
  • Torchier lamps with quartz halogen bulbs are not recommended for use due its excessively high operating bulb temperatures and it's unprotected bulb design.

House Parties and Social Events

  • Overcrowding -Limit the number of invited guest to avoid overcrowding.
  • Remember -Many fires start after the party has ended so please remember to do the following:
  • Safety Monitors -Ask a few friends to help with monitoring the house for safety, before, during and after the event.
  • InspectAfter A Gathering - Sofa cushions and other living areas should be inspected for fire safety after the gathering has concluded.
  • Empty the Trash -Place accumulated garbage and trash outside of the building after the event.

Contributing Factors and Causes of Fire

  • Don’t Drink in Excess -Excessive consumption of alcohol is often a key factor causing over 50% of unintentional fires.
  • Don’t Burn it -Unattended cooking, smoking, and candle burning are amongst the leading causes of fire related injuries.
    Barbecue coals and fireplace ashes can stay hot up three days. After cooking with charcoal completely cover the hot coals in water for ten minutes and do not discard the coals in dumpsters, on the ground, or near buildings.
  • Fireworks -Pyrotechnics are dangerous and should be used only in accordance with local ordinances and fire codes.
  • Candles - Caution should be exercised and candles monitored wen in use. Use of candles at the University of Louisville is prohibited, unless pre-approved by the University Fire Marshal.
  • Smoke Detectors -The Louisville Fire Prevention Bureau may be contacted at (502)574-3731 should you have questions or comments regarding any aspects of fire and life safety in off-campus dwellings.