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Dorm Safety

Dorm Safety

Whether you’re returning to campus as a senior or you’re headed to college as a freshman, the end of summer marks the start of a brand new school year. While typical dorm life consists of new friends, new roommates, and figuring out who’s going to bring the microwave- many students overlook the importance of dorm room safety when it comes to fire, electrical and cooking hazards. Equip yourself with knowledge outside the classroom to keep you prepared in case of an emergency. Have these tips in mind when moving into your newly decorated dorm room:

Fire Safety

  • If candles and incense are allowed in your residence hall, never leave them unattended. Be sure to keep them away from any curtains or other flammable materials. Never put candles on unstable surfaces where they may tip or fall.
  • Ceiling decorations may look common, but it’s important to make sure nothing is hanging from sprinkler systems. You want to be sure they can function properly in case of a fire.
  • Never ignore a fire alarm in your dorm building. Whether it’s a drill, a real emergency, or even just a pulled prank, you want to be sure to exit the building safely in any circumstance.

Electrical Safety

  • Extension cords and power strips are almost essential in any dorm, but be careful not to overload any one power strip or outlet! Connecting too many extension cords together can also cause sparking or shorting.
  • Older dorm buildings have the potential to house outdated electrical systems, if any outlet gets too hot to touch, let your resident assistant know right away. It could be a potential fire hazard.
  • Don’t run cords under doors or carpet or have heavy items pinching them. Cords can overheat or short circuit and you don’t want them trapped underneath anything flammable.

Cooking Safety

  • Living off of Ramen Noodles or popcorn is pretty typical in college, but make sure you pay close attention to labels and cook times when microwaving any meals.
  • Don’t multitask while cooking! Being attentive and staying focused makes a world of difference when it comes to kitchen safety and avoiding cooking hazards.
  • Be sure to cook meals in the appropriate designated areas. Check if your residence hall has a common area kitchen and be sure it is free of clutter and debris before you start cooking.

During Move-In Day

  • Talk with your roommate and resident assistant about an evacuation plan for the building during an emergency. Always have a secondary backup plan in case your first exit is blocked.
  • Keep a mental note of the closest exit to your dorm room. Memorize the number of doors or other objects in case you’re unable to visually see the exit in an emergency.
  • Check to make sure all smoke detectors are working properly and that fire extinguishers are present in living areas. And never disable or remove the battery on a smoke detector, this puts everyone at risk!

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