Fire Safe Houses
Sigma Chi brothers aren’t grown on trees. They are grown in chapter houses and both the actives and houses need to be as safe as possible. The house corporation should partner with active chapter to create and maintain safe conditions. Here are some of the areas to monitor carefully:
Housekeeping. When trash accumulates and dirty clothes pile up, there is a higher likelihood that fire will find fuel to burn. Insist on and check for weekly clean up to address these concerns.
Extension Cords. Many older chapter houses lack the electrical systems that modern structures are required to by code. There are fewer circuits and those there are have lower capacity. Electrical outlets may not be grounded and are fewer in number. Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) outlets in bathrooms and kitchens are often absent. Yet, today’s active brothers use numerous kilowatt eating electronic devices: laptops, printers, stereos, hi-def TVs, cell phone and IPod chargers populate multiple extension cords that festoon every available outlet. If your house is like this, an electrical panel upgrade and more circuits are called for.
Space Heaters. Older housing lacks insulation or double pane windows to keep out winter’s bite. Forced air space heaters provide heat levels that could ignite piles of clothes and draperies.
Candles. The dangers of candles begin with an exposed and unattended flame. 40% of candle fires start in the bedroom. Members should prohibit the use of candles throughout the facility.
Smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. Enacting a No Smoking Policy in the chapter house is a common sense solution. Outdoor cigarette receptacles can be purchased at websites like www.barcoproducts.com
Flammable Liquids. Cleaning compounds, gasoline, etc. should be stored in a dry and secured location, away from water heaters, furnaces and boilers.
Laundry Facilities. Dryers should have lint traps and vents exhausted to the outside. Exhaust vents need to be cleaned regularly.
Review your chapter house several times a year to check for unsafe conditions and ask the cooperation from active brothers on those things under their control.