Keep your dorm free of fire hazards
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Keep your dorm free of fire hazards

When heading off to college for the first time, new students will also be living on their own for the first time. That means that mom and dad won't be around to ensure their kids are being safe when it comes to all manner of issues -- including fire hazards.

Here are some great fire safety tips to teach your kids before they go off to school:

-- If students are choosing their living arrangements -- whether it be a dorm or an off-campus apartment -- they will want to check to make sure their new residence has a fire sprinkler system.

-- Check for smoke alarms. If a residence or dorm does not have a smoke alarm, it is a good idea to buy one. Even better, make sure that the smoke alarms are connected to a larger, building-wide fire alarm system.

-- Regularly test smoke alarms to ensure they're operational each month.

-- Do not disable smoke alarms by removing batteries. It is easy to forget to put batteries back in, and then students will no longer have a warning system in place in case of a fire.

-- Study the evacuation plan for the dorm or apartment building, and if it does not have one, students should create their own that offers two escape routes for every room.

-- Leave the building as quickly as possible any time a smoke or fire alarm goes off.

-- Have flashlights on hand to be used in case of an emergency that happens when the power is out.

-- Do not cook in the kitchen while sleepy or drowsy, and do not cook while inebriated by drugs or alcohol.

-- Never leave the kitchen while cooking.

-- Always use surge protectors on computer and electronic equipment rather than plugging the items directly into an outlet.

Following these safety precautions will prevent the majority of house, apartment and dorm fires. However, in case a home fire does happen and results in serious burns, the injured person may want to look in to whether he or she has a valid claim to make for personal injury damages. In some cases, negligent landlords, building owners and universities might be liable for burns that happen in a residential fire.

Source: National Fire Protection Association, "Campus and dorm fire safety tips," accessed Sep. 19, 2016

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