If your children are off to college this year, do they have everything they need to have not only a perfect school year but also safe one? Many students and parents aren’t thinking about fire safety when they pack up the car for the dorm or for off-campus housing. However, dorms and student housing units can be especially vulnerable to fire because there are so many students sharing the spaces.
There are a few ways to keep your children safe:
1) Talk to children about candles.
In dorms and off-campus housing, candles are a leading cause of fires and burn injuries. It is all too easy for busy students to leave a scented candle burning and with the popularity of these products, many students choose to have candles burning frequently – even in dorms where such products are not allowed. Discourage your child from using candles and explain the dangers. If your children want to have scented products in their dorm room or apartment, consider scented sprays, diffusers, and other scented products that don’t have the danger of candles.
2) Check smoke detectors when moving in.
Make sure to check that there are smoke detectors in your child’s dorm room or apartment. Moving day is a great time to check.
Check that common areas and private rooms have detectors and that there is a detector either in the bedroom or immediately outside of the room where your child sleeps. Always test to make sure that detectors are operational. If possible, have your child keep a fire extinguisher in their dorm room or in their off-campus apartment.
3) Discourage your child from using extension cords.
Extension cords pose a fire hazard risk, especially if they’re run under rugs. If wiring needs to be done, ask the landlord to fix the wiring rather than relying on extension cords.
4) If it’s an option, look for accommodations that have automatic fire sprinkler systems.
These are safer and may reduce the risk of fires and burn injuries. If automatic sprinkler systems are not an option, talk buy a fire extinguisher for your child to keep in their dorm room or apartment.
5) Walk fire escape routes with your children.
If your child is in the larger dorm room building or an off-campus apartment, walk through the fire escape plan with them after you’re done helping them unpack. Make sure that there are at least one or two fire escape options in addition to the entryway.
6) Get insurance.
Your child may be able to get renters’ insurance for on-campus and off-campus housing. You might also want to call your own insurance company – your homeowners’ insurance may cover your child if they live in a dorm. In the event of a fire or damages, insurance can help pay for damages and losses.
If your child has been injured due to defective smoke detectors, ineffective sprinkler systems or lack of security, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. You may be able to pursue compensation to help your child secure the support they need as they recover from their injuries. Your initial consultation with our law firm is free and comes with no obligation.