Maybe your child, or someone you know, is about to go to university.
They’ve worked hard to get the grades they deserved. And now it’s all paid off and they’re just starting to think about what they need to be taking to university with them.
And for many of them, it’s likely to be the first time they’ve spent any considerable time away from home. It’s one of those moments that’s scary and daunting, but also incredibly exciting.
Of course, you want them to go off and make the most of this fantastic opportunity in front of them, but you also want them to stay safe as well as to make some great memories.
Now is a good time to give them some advice that, one day, they may well thank you for.
Fire Safety In The Kitchen
It may seem stereotypical, but many, many dinners are likely to get burnt during their time as a Fresher. Not only does that mean a ruined meal, but it is also a very dangerous situation.
That’s why it is so important never to leave food cooking unattended. When things get out of hand, you can act quickly to prevent them from escalating and causing any serious damage.
All you need to do with a small pan fire is place a fire blanket over the flames to extinguish them.
For a bigger fire, a multipurpose 2kg powder extinguisher may be a better tool for the job. Just ensure they are familiar with how to operate it before they actually need to use it.
So after a night out, it’s best to pick something up from the takeaway on the way back home to your flat.
Never cook when drunk. And likewise, it’s best to not cook when tired or distracted. Cooking food needs the chef’s full attention.
Student Flat Fire Threats
Fires which start as a result of smokers’ materials are responsible for most fire-related deaths. So if they’re smokers, then they need to be doing it sensibly.
Chances are, rules in university accommodation will ban them from smoking inside, and they should respect and follow those rules. But cigarettes need to be disposed of responsibly in an ashtray.
And when it comes to candles and incense, then extreme caution is advised. Never place them near combustible materials, such as curtains, and they must not be left burning unattended.
There are perhaps better ways to unwind.
But having a smoke alarm installed will warn them of any fire, which is especially useful when they are sleeping. Just ensure they are installed on the ceiling and are checked regularly with batteries replaced as required.
And likewise, it’s a good idea to put up a carbon monoxide alarm too. That way, they’re protected against the silent killer. Because, even if there are no risks present in their room, the harmful gas can seep through walls and ceilings.
Making A Quick Exit
They have to know what to do in the event of an emergency. It could literally be what keeps them alive. If they discover a potential fire before the alarms do, then they need to know how to raise the alarm.
It may be that there is call point in the hallway or a communal area. However, they need to make sure that they are getting themselves to safety, as well as everyone else.
This is also why they need to know the emergency exit routes, and where the assembly point is.
It might also pay to prepare for what might happen if that main exit route becomes blocked. Hopefully, there will be an alternative way out of the building. But if there isn’t, then it may be that they have to escape another way.
An emergency escape ladder makes it safe for anyone to get out of a first- or second-floor window when there is no other way. These fold away discreetly, but it is important to know exactly how to use them. Again, there’s nothing worse than not knowing what to do when you’re panicked.
We all hope that no student will need to use any of this equipment. But every year, particularly in the first few months of the new university intake, there are stories involving students and fire.
Everyone always assumes it won’t be them, or their children. But the uncomfortable truth is that it could be anyone, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Unfortunately, even if you take every precaution there is still a risk of a fire starting. Although personal safety is of the utmost importance should the worst happen, it’s also worth thinking about everything else that could be damaged in the event of a fire.
The value of the belongings that you take to university is likely to be more than you realise when you factor in your phone, laptop, clothes and anything else you need on a day to day basis. It could be worthwhile making sure your belongings are insured, as a fire could leave you without essential items that you might not be in the financial position to replace.
By giving new (and returning) students some friendly university safety advice, you may just be able to rest a little easier when they’re off making a bright future for themselves.
Most importantly, they need to enjoy the experience and absorb as much new knowledge as possible.
Wish them the best of luck from us.