Talk to any college student in the spring and you’ll quickly realize it’s an important time of year for them. In the midst of hair-raising finals, students are also frantically looking for off-campus housing for the upcoming fall term. This got organizations such as Campus Firewatch, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) thinking … so just how many parents actually visit these locations with their sons and daughters? Do students and parents know what to ask prospective landlords to ensure the place they lease addresses fire and life safety?
As part of an effort to raise awareness about off-campus housing fire hazards and provide information and action steps to ensure families choose a safe place to live for the school year, our organizations have teamed up to promote a great campaign called, See It Before You Sign It. The See It Before You Sign It campaign encourages parents to take a more active role in helping their loved ones choose secure, fire-safe housing including:
- Visiting locations before any lease is signed
- Taking a virtual tour of the apartment or house when you can’t physically be there
- Asking landlords pointed questions about fire and life safety
In a recent USFA report, from 2000 through 2015, 85 fatal fires occurred in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and off-campus housing, resulting in 118 student fatalities, an average of approximately seven per school year. More than nine out of 10 (94 percent) fatal campus fires took place in off-campus housing.
While the numbers are scary, there is something we can do to lower the risk. Whether its social media messages, images, checklists or information sheets, resources available from the See It Before You Sign It campaign can help guide both students and parents when choosing a place that is fire safe, and one that your daughters and sons can proudly call their home away from home! Check out the webpage today before you head out apartment hunting with your family.