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One Clearlake Centre, 250 S. Australian Avenue Suite 601
West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401


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Residential Checklist

Residential Checklist

The following checklist accounts for fire and life safety covering structural issues, egress, and equipment such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire escapes. Use this list to assess your new or potential residence and discuss any discrepancies with your landlord, housing director, or host family. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need help finding equipment. This checklist observes International Building and Fire Codes and National Fire Protection Association  standards and consultation with nationwide campus health and safety programs.

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Residential Fire Safety Checklist for Off Campus Housing and Study Abroad Programs

Fire and Life Safety Equipment
Smoke detectors are installed and working.
You should have one smoke detector located adjacent to each sleeping area. If not, either contact your landlord about installing one or install one yourself. Test smoke detectors on a monthly basis if a testing button is present. “Chirping” indicates a low battery. We recommend getting a smoke detector with a 10-year lithium battery and an emergency light. There are two types of smoke alarms available; ionic and photoelectric. According to the Center for Campus Fire Safety, “photoelectric smoke alarms generally respond faster to smoldering smoke conditions and ionization smoke alarms generally respond faster to flaming fire conditions, both types provide adequate protection against fire.” Combination models are also available. Ionic smoke detectors are prohibited in some countries due to the small amount of radiation they emit. Check which kind of smoke detector is most appropriate for your residence and pack it when you travel.
Fire extinguishers are present and charged.
Instructional videos are available online. If you are trained to use a fire extinguisher it can be a valuable safety tool for extinguishing small fires before they get out of hand. If you don’t know how to use an extinguisher, or if the fire seems to large, don’t try to extinguish it, just get out!
There are two exits from any room.
If you live above the first floor, make sure your residence has an accessible fire escape ladder or purchase a portable escape ladder. There are many different models of fireproof compact escape ladders in various lengths. Contact us if you need help finding one that’s right for you. Develop an escape plan and practice it.
Are fire alarms and exit signs visible (in multi-unit apartment buildings)?
Are carbon monoxide detectors installed and working?
Exits and Exteriors
The building exterior and adjacent properties are clean and well maintained
All doors, stairs and fire escapes are unobstructed and in good condition
There are at least two ways out from any level or floor of the building
The building address is visible and clearly marked (for emergency responders)
Outdoor areas are free of flammable debris and furniture designed for interior use
Flammable liquids are not stored in building
Exit signs and emergency lights are in place and working properly
Tip: If you live above the seventh floor of an apartment building, fire truck ladders will not be able to reach you. Buildings off of the street may also be difficult for emergency responders to reach.
Living Room and Common Areas
All furniture, linens, and draperies are made of fire-resistant material
All interior walls and ceilings are in good condion
All exit doors are unobstructed and providing sufficient means of egress
Electric outlets on each wall have covers and are in good condition
All wall electrical switches work easily (not sparking or warm to touch) and light fixtures work properly
Hallways and common areas are illuminated
Smoke detectors are in each hallway leading to bedrooms
Carbon monoxide detectors are located on each floor containing bedrooms
Windows operate easily and without bars or barriers
All exit routes are clear and doors work freely
Exit doors free of locking devices that may interfere with exiting (no keys required)
Dryers, chimneys, wood stoves and all home heating systems should be professionally inspected and cleaned annually
Electric outlets on each wall have covers and are in good condition
All wall electrical switches work easily (not sparking or warm to touch); light fixtures work properly
Appliances provided appear to be clean and in good working condition
Appliance electrical cords are in good condition
Kitchen exhaust and kitchen surfaces are free of grease
Hot and cold water turns on and off without leaks
Sink works properly (no leaks under sink)
Windows operate easily, exit route is clear, doors work freely
Mattress, furniture, linens, and drapery is made of fire-resistant material
Interior walls, ceiling and floor are in good condition (no signs of leaks)
Outlets have covers and are in good condition
All wall electrical switches work easily (not sparking or warm to touch); light fixtures work properly
Smoke detector is present near bedroom and operating (press button to test)
At least one window operates easily and is not obstructed by bars
Door works freely, latches and locks are functional (no keys required to exit)

Clicking "SUBMIT" will store a copy of your checklist in our database. We can always e-mail you a copy, and we may recommend options for addressing any hazards or other concerns in your residence. Please be sure to tell your friends about our resources!