This post goes out to all those parents who have dropped off one of their children at a college campus over the past few weeks. While they are excited and thrilled to be on their own and embarking on a new phase of education and independence, you may be worried sick about what happens to them when you’re not around to help them.
Okay, you also may be secretly excited to turn their now-empty bedroom into an office, mancave or exercise room, but let’s focus on the worry for a minute.
When your kids were living in the house with you, they probably assumed that you kept your home a fire-safe environment, following all the tips we’ve given you over the past few years to protect your home and prevent fires and water damage. But when they move to a dorm, they don’t have this luxury of responsible adults looking after them. You can also help your young adult by keeping some of these tips in mind while you’re helping them look for housing. So please pass on these tips to your college students and then turn your hand to repurposing their room.
- When choosing a dorm or off-campus housing, look for places that are fully equipped with sprinklers.
- Did they run a fire alarm test? Not sure? Double check that you can hear the building’s alarm system in your dorm room.
- Make sure you have a fire alarm not just in the room you sleep in, but in all common and living areas also. For the highest level of protection, all smoke alarms in the dormitory, apartment or house should be interconnected so that they all sound at once.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month.
- Burn your toast? Don’t take out the batteries or disable the alarm. It could cost you your life.
- Pay attention during the dormitory fire drills, and if you live in off-campus housing, you should learn the best route for evacuation. Have a fire escape plan with at least two ways out of every room.
- When you hear the smoke or fire alarm, don’t stop to grab any personal belongings: Get out quickly and stay out.
- Don’t leave the kitchen, even for “a minute”, while cooking. Most home fires start in the kitchen!
- Don’t cook while sleepy, drowsy or under the influence of medicine or alcohol.
Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or chimenea.
Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
- If you smoke, do so only outside and where it is permitted. Use sturdy, deep ashtrays that don’t tip over. PLEASE do not smoke in bed or when you are drowsy.
- Check with your school before using candles, and make sure it is placed well away from anything that can burn—curtains, books, paper, bedding and clothes, for example. NEVER leave a candle burning unattended, and always blow it out before you go to sleep or when you leave the room.
Still not sure if your college student will adhere to these rules? Tell them these sobering facts: Fires are more common during the evening hours, between 5-11 p.m. and on weekends. Plus, cooking equipment is the cause of about 75 percent of fires, and most fires begin in a kitchen or cooking area! And we’ve been to college—we know what crazy things kids rig up to cook in their dorm rooms. Tell them to order a pizza instead!
And if your home or the home where your son or daughter lives off campus is involved in a fire, please call us immediately. We can restore your home just as it was before the incident: (877) 732-8471