Skip to content

Fire Safety

Fire can pose a significant risk anywhere and fire safety standards differ drastically around the world. Some countries may have stricter regulations than the United States and others may have those which are much more lax.  For these reasons, you need to consider fire precautions in any building you visit, particularly how to escape.

A few words of advice before you depart:

  • Recognize that fire safety standards are not the same in all countries. While your accommodations in the United States are probably required to adhere to specific fire safety codes, that might not be the case abroad. Research the standards in your host country and be prepared.
  • Find out if your prospective housing abroad has smoke detectors in or near the bedrooms; a fire extinguisher; and easily accessible emergency exits. A list of other issues to consider can be found at
  • Consider purchasing a smoke detector before departure. The Fire Safety Foundation lists variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. to the address where you are residing.

and while you are abroad:

  • Know where emergency exits are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Make an escape plan.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Make sure that there is a working smoke detector in or near your bedroom and test it. If there is no smoke detector, discuss the situation with your local program coordinator and consider purchasing and installing one yourself.
  • Look for fire hazards.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Do not smoke inside and definitely not in bed.
  • Inspect windows and doors and make sure that they are easy to open.
  • If you feel that your accommodations are not safe, let someone know.

Additional Resources