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WHEREAS, since 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 4,100 structure fires in dormitories, fraternity houses, sorority houses, and other related properties; and
WHEREAS, since January 2000, at least 175 people, including students, parents, and children have died in college-related fires, of which seven were in the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, September and October are peak months for fires in dormitory-type properties, and they are more common during the evening hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and
WHEREAS, 87 percent of fatal campus fires occurred in off-campus occupancies that are often not adequately protected with automatic fire sprinkler systems and automatic fire alarm systems or adequate smoke alarms; and
WHEREAS, smoking was the leading cause of fatal fires in campus housing, followed by intentional actions, electrical, and cooking; and
WHEREAS, more than half of the fatal fires have occurred in buildings where the fire safety systems have been compromised or disabled by the occupants; and
WHEREAS, automatic fire alarm systems and smoke alarms provide the necessary early warning to occupants and the fire department of a fire so that appropriate action can be taken; and
WHEREAS, an automatic fire sprinkler system is a highly effective method of controlling or extinguishing a fire in its early stages and protect the lives of the building's occupants; and
WHEREAS, it is crucial that Virginia’s students understand the potential fire hazards within their places of residence and the importance of exercising proper safety measures; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s students should routinely receive effective fire safety education from college administrators and fire safety professionals; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s colleges and universities are encouraged to promote campus fire safety education by providing safe housing and learning environments for its students and faculty; and
WHEREAS, Campus Fire Safety Month is an opportunity to recognize the importance of fire education in preventing fire casualties;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2019 as CAMPUS FIRE SAFETY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.