While it’s easy to take fire safety for granted when you’re at home, it’s important that before your college freshman leaves home and sets up house elsewhere, he or she understands how to prevent fires and what do do in the event a fire starts.
Before school starts, give your kids these lessons that will help keep them safe during their first year away from home – and always.
Fire Safety Rules
Kitchen Areas: Make sure all cooking areas are free from combustible materials. Keep pot handles turned in, and wear short sleeves to keep them from catching on pots and pans.
Should a grease or oil fire flare up, turn off the burner and cover the pot with a lid – never use water to put out a grease fire.
Laundry: Keep the lint cleaned out of your dryer, and make sure everyone using the dryer does the same each time it’s used. This keeps the dryer running efficiently, but more importantly, it can stop lint fires cold.
Space Heaters: No matter what the space limitations are, make sure your college student knows never use a space heater within three feet of anything combustible, and never leave it running when out of the room or when sleeping.
Grills and Barbecues: Don’t use a grill or barbecue indoors or on a balcony or porch – it’s illegal in many parts of the country. Also, make sure to turn the gas off on the grill when you’re done cooking. Leaving it on could result in a tank explosion.
Emergency Equipment and Plan
Make a list of all important emergency numbers, including family members to be contacted during an emergency. Keep them available and close at hand, and make sure your roommates do the same.
Know how to use a fire extinguisher and keep one close to kitchen and laundry areas. Make sure your roommates know the location of each and how to use them, and where to find emergency exits.
Don’t disconnect fire alarms, and know what to look for when the batteries need to be replaced. Make sure you know who to contact if they’re beeping or flashing, or the battery has gone dead. Many alarms are connected to an external electric alarm system in addition to the battery, and it’s important to keep them properly maintained.
Take a few minutes to review a fire safety plan and you’ll both feel better about the move from home to dormitory. With just a little bit of planning and thought, your college freshman can practice fire safety away from home, and give you some peace of mind, too.