The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of College Planning & Management magazine.

Institutions Are Invited to Participate In The Second Annual Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project

AURORA, IL – First Alert, Campus Firewatch, and the Michael H. Minger Foundation are inviting universities and fire departments to participate in the second annual Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project to raise awareness about campus and community fire safety. In partnership with fire departments and universities across the country, the initiative will raise awareness among students and community members about the importance of working smoke alarms and help to improve fire safety in homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a fire is reported every 24 seconds on average across the country and fire departments responded to 1.3 million fires in 2016. Three of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes without smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms according to the NFPA. In the fires where a smoke alarm was present, but did not operate, half of them had missing or disconnected batteries.

"The Town/Gown project promotes fire safety education and collaboration between students, fire departments, universities, and their surrounding communities nationwide," says Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. "By partnering with Campus Firewatch and the Michael H. Minger Foundation, we are positively impacting the long-term safety for both the students and communities."

College students living independently for the first time with new academic challenges and social distractions may not view fire safety as a top priority. The Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project encourages students to learn about and take responsibility for their personal safety, while also supporting the local community.  

Last year, schools across the country collaborated with local fire departments by performing home safety visits. The program is expanding this year, and students will be conducting home safety visits alongside firefighters and installing more than 2,500 smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms donated by First Alert in at-risk communities this fall. Organizations interested in taking part can learn more and submit an application online at FirstAlert.com/TownGown.

"By helping to install alarms in at-risk homes throughout their communities, the students see first-hand the importance of working smoke and CO alarms," says Ed Comeau, founder of Campus Firewatch. "They are learning fire safety by doing fire safety, and making their communities safer at the same time."

"Teaching simple steps about fire safety paired with community outreach can not only help prevent tragedies, but also improve the well-being of the community as a whole," says Gail Minger, president of the Michael H. Minger Foundation. "We are thrilled to offer students this unique volunteer opportunity through the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project."

Home Safety Advice for All
Due to the contents in today's homes, fires burn faster and hotter. According to Underwriters Laboratories, a house fire can become uncontrollable in less than three minutes. To ensure the highest level of protection from fire, First Alert recommends following the guidelines set by the U.S. Fire Administration and NFPA, which advise that homes have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. For CO alarms, homes should have at least one alarm on each level and one in or near every bedroom.

Once alarms are installed it is important to maintain them. They don't last forever and should be replaced every 5 to 10 years, depending on the type of alarm. Alarms should be tested regularly and the batteries should be replaced at least every six months. For hassle-free protection, 10-year sealed battery alarms eliminate the risk of forgetting to change the batteries or having an alarm deactivated due to battery removal. It is also important to plan an emergency escape route and practice it at least twice a year, so in the event of an emergency everyone knows how to get out of the home safely and where to meet.

To submit an application for the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project, visit FirstAlert.com/TownGown.

To learn more about fire safety, visit the First Alert website at www.firstalert.com, the Campus Firewatch website at www.campus-firewatch.com, or the Michael H. Minger Foundation at www.mingerfoundation.org.

About Campus Firewatch
Campus Firewatch is a social entrepreneurship focused on helping to save lives at our nation's campuses. For more information, visit www.campus-firewatch.com.

About Michael H. Minger Foundation
The Michael H. Minger Foundation was formed following the death of Michael Minger in a residence hall fire. The Foundation focuses on fire safety for all students, including students with special needs such as physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. More information is available at www.mingerfoundation.org.

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