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How can we reduce the exposure to fall from heights incidents at the chapter level?

Falls from heights are a significant problem in fraternal properties. A number of catastrophic incidents have occurred in recent years when students have fallen off balconies, roofs, fire escapes and out of windows of fraternity/sorority properties. In some of the cases fatalities have resulted. Nearly 80% of the incidents involved alcohol, while over 80% were on chapter property.

As such, we strongly recommend against allowing members access to these things unless it is an emergency situation such as a fire. Other steps can be taken as well:

• Conduct 3rd party inspections of chapter properties
• Address egress issues with Fire Department and meet the minimum required by code
• Establish House Corporation standards that need to be met to obtain recognition and coverage under the Fraternity’s liability insurance policies
• Standardized Housing Agreement and Lease Structure
• Proof of Compliance with IRS not-for-profit requirements (990)
• Functioning Board
• 3rd party inspection completed at least on biennially basis
• Prohibit social functions on decks and balconies
• Make sure that bunk beds and lofts are placed away from windows
• Put window guards on windows to prevent them from opening too far
• Make sure windows and screens are in good repair
• Block roof access and assign consequences if students violate this rule 

Thanks to our friends at Holmes Murphy for great information like this and more!

Falls-From-Heights is also a shareable PDF.