Memorial Day has come and gone, summer is right around the corner and for most college students finals and graduation parties mark the end of the school year. But believe it or not, over the course of the next few weeks and months students will be looking for off-campus housing for the upcoming fall term. Is your son or daughter one of them? If so, NFPA is happy to be partnering with Campus Firewatch, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to promote the "See it Before you Sign it" campaign. If you haven't heard about it before, the "See It" campaign encourages parents to take a more active role in helping their loved ones choose secure, fire-safe housing in apartments or houses that are not on campus, including seeing the house before you sign that contract..
There are plenty of resources you can download and review, and share with your family as you begin your house hunt. Not sure what to look for? Want to ask questions of the landlord but you're not sure what to ask? We have checklists and Q & A sheets that can help you get started and guide you through the process. If you're a parent, here's a few questions you will want to consider:
* Does the house have working smoke alarms?
* Are there two ways out of each room for a safe escape? Can all the doors and windows open easily?
* Can the house handle today's electric power needs? Think of computers, phones and tablets, televisions, etc.
* Does your college student take precautions with smoking materials and alcohol? Do they take care to never leave the kitchen when cooking meals?
Finding that perfect "home away from home" is important for both students and their parents. According to the USFA, 94 percent of fatal campus fires took place in off-campus housing and since 2000 nearly 120 people have died in campus fires. So you see, it's more than just finding a place with a pretty view. We want (and should demand) to know that our loved ones will be safe in off-campus housing against fire and other hazards. So take a few minutes and review our materials. Learn all you can about off-campus housing fire safety.You'll be glad you did! And good luck with the house hunting!