This is, as the title makes clear, a guide to what to take to university, but it is a guide for those who are clever enough to have already sorted out their pants and plates.
You’ve been accepted to higher education; you don’t need me to tell you to pack your shaving foam. I start with this disclaimer because so much is written about how to pack for this seminal journey.
It’s as if undergrads haven’t achieved commendable exam results, or retained a modicum of brainpower (post beery celebrations) to decide whether deodorant is a necessary staple two counties over.
This is a guide to something you may not have thought about taking, fire safety equipment.
The secret to year one is multipurpose gadgetry.
By the time you’re repacking and getting to leave again, your possessions will have inexplicably multiplied and you will have some hard decisions to make.
Forget about the sandwich maker, toaster and iron. Apart from being major fire hazards in crowded living quarters, you will be hauling around this equipment for everyone else living in your halls.
You need a torch.
Don’t bother with candles: they are a fire hazard and, along with cigarettes and smoking materials, have been the cause of 1,500 18-24 year olds’ injuries over the last 5 years.
Now you’re really on your own, and if you’re moving into a rented property for the first time, make sure either you or your landlord has supplied the following:
These need not break the bank, and are the simplest and fastest method of extinguishing a fire.
55% of 18-24 year olds’ deaths in fires have occurred through misuse of cooking appliances and careless handling of hot substances.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that a few bleary viewings of the Great British Bake Off have made you qualified to take your eye off that pan.
Fire escape ladder
The main escape routes to your halls may be blocked in the event of a fire.
A fire escape ladder is purpose-built to help you escape in all conditions.
A small powder extinguisher will sit neatly in your room and extinguish most types of fires that can occur indoors, including those electrical fires.
Available as a budget buy, it should be top of your list.
You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire if you do not have a working smoke alarm.
A carbon monoxide detector is also essential to save you from the consequences of leaks, which are common in the winter when the heating is cranked up.
First Aid Kit
Should you suffer a burn, dressings and gels to soothe the pain will be close at hand.
Like a toothbrush and tweezers, the items mentioned above are an important part of the arsenal, but you can’t get excited about them.
Not like you will about these extra, choice items. Not for beginners…
Cheap as chips, Marathon runners are draped in these at the end of races.
Apart from preventing an injured person from going into shock, this might actually be more entertaining than dragging a coat around with you on a night out.
It will certainly prevent people from losing sight of you, just like a Hi-Vis Vest would too.
Let me explain. Sharing student housing is a great, character-building adventure and will form part of the great tapestry of treasured memories.
But the bottom line is you don’t know these people. Repurpose the anti-tamper seals and tie them on suitcases, Tupperware, jewellery boxes, laptops and lager six packs.
They come in a variety of colours, to match your new cutlery set. Because you’ve had to replace that by now.
The whole point of Uni is to get your degree and have fun but just make sure you are safe along the way.