Whether it’s in the spring, fall, winter or summer, many college kids will eventually move to off campus living quarters. Parents and students typically have time to do research on the areas around campus that are for rent. However, there are some fire prevention safety tips that you might not have thought about.
The best advice to help keep your college student safe is… don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve actually seen the apartment or house.
Why? Because about seven people every year, die in fires in dorms, fraternities, sororities and off-campus housing.
Since 2000, nearly 120 people have died in campus fires, according to a U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
Off-campus housing tops the list for fires.
Most (94 percent) fatal campus fires took place in off-campus housing, according to incidents examined by USFA between 2000 and 2015.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has teamed up with USFA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Campus Firewatch to help get this warning out. Don’t sign a contract for housing until you see it yourself. That goes for Mom and Dad too. See it, take a housing tour and make sure you look for:
#1 Working smoke alarms
Make sure there are working smoke alarms on every level and inside each bedroom. Smoke alarms save lives. Fire sprinklers add lifesaving protection too.
USFA found that smoke alarms were missing or did not have batteries in 58 percent of fatal campus fires. None of the fatal fire locations had fire sprinklers.
#2 Two ways out of each room for a safe escape. Make sure all windows and doors open easily. You need to be able to get out if there is a fire. Two ways out are best.
#3 Campus or off-campus housing that can handle today’s electric power needs.
Laptop computers, phones, televisions and coffee makers take a lot of power. Some older homes may not be able to handle all the electrical demand by today’s students. USFA found that electrical issues caused 11 percent of the fires.
#4 Be in the know.
Make sure that your college student knows how to be responsible around alcohol and smoking. The USFA study found these two things involved in the majority of the fires.
Also, if your child is going to be cooking his or her own meals, a discussion about keeping an eye on the food when it is cooking and avoiding distractions is a necessity.
College is a time of new and exciting beginnings. Be sure to “See it before you sign it” for off-campus housing so that an overlooked danger doesn’t have a chance to bring precious college years to an abrupt and devastating end.