UC, Fire Department up campus fire safety

(FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Fire Department are teaming up to keep off-campus students safe as they head back to school.

Going door-to-door, the Cincinnati Fire Department and University of Cincinnati are making sure safety is a priority in off-campus housing by handing out free smoke detectors throughout the Clifton community.

"If a fire occurs in your house, you have no more than three and a half or four and a half minutes to escape," explains Fire and Life Safety Educator, Vickie Woodson. "So the smoke alarm, as soon as you hear it, goes off, it gives you that early warning to 'hey there's a fire, there's something going on in my house. I need to get out."

There is a strong focus on off-campus housing safety after a fatal fire claimed the lives of two U.C. students in January.

"We lost two students last year, Ellen Garner and Chad Kohls, and they [greatly] impacted our community," said Daniel Cummins, University of Cincinnati Assistant Dean of Students.  "We wanted to not revisit such a tragedy."

As students begin to move back to Clifton, the fire department used the opportunity to educate students who may be moving off campus for the first time.

"That's what's important to us, to educate members of our community so that they are knowledgeable about fire safety. Any loss of life is at tragedy to our family," said Cummins.

Fire officials also identified which houses are used for student housing and which are permanent residences.

City officials have also joined the movement to keep students safe by requiring rental properties to have enhanced smoke detectors.

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