Fire prevention is vitally important in off-campus living situations. Fire alarms, extinguishers and sprinkler systems are routinely checked and tested in University residence halls. Such care is often not as routine in off-campus locations, especially when renting in a private residence. Many apartment communities (especially the newer ones) have fire suppressing sprinkler systems while other rental properties (especially private residences) do not. Check with the owner/landlord or building manager for information regarding the fire prevention system and evacuation plan for your building BEFORE you sign a lease.
Potential fuel for fire can be limited by good housekeeping practices. All clothing, paper and other combustibles should be stored away from sources of ignition such as open flames, matches and heated objects. Cigarettes and matches are major causes of fire, as are stoves and candles. Play it safe with any potential ignition source.
Be certain that your living unit has a fire extinguisher mounted in a readily accessible place. If you have a kitchen, the extinguisher should be mounted near the kitchen entrance. Also, make certain that you have functioning smoke alarms in the unit. Smoke may be the first warning of a fire and smoke kills more people than heat in building fires.
The Lexington Fire Department has a more extensive explanation of fire safety in apartments, as well as fire safety checklists for both tenants and landlords.