Fire safety should be a priority in evaluating accommodations both before and after entering college. Your students should be aware of housing authority safety policies or create their own check list if living off campus:

  • Is there an automatic fire alarm (one that transmits a signal directly to the fire department or police) in the building? Do you have an emergency number posted which should always be called at first sign of fire?
  • Are there smoke detectors in the bedrooms?
  • Are smoke detectors connected to a central system or are they battery operated and only sound in the room?
  • Is your student housed in leased housing? If so, who provides fire protection, and rules and regulations enforcement?
  • Does the housing unit have a fire sprinkler protection system?
  • Is there a full time fire safety position on campus to provide expertise and assistance?
  • Are lighting fixtures adequate? If not, avoid hazards by using only correct size and wattage bulbs and do not use high heat halogen bulb fixtures which have been the blame for many fires.

The author of this post, Larry Richards, is Safety Director at the College of William & Mary.

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